Holistic perception and memorization of flavor

Richard J. Stevenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Flavor perception supports food choice, and it has several characteristics: (1) smell is a key part, but there is little awareness of its role; (2) variations in odorant delivery are not noticed; (3) flavor is localized to the mouth; (4) central interactions occur between all flavor senses; and (5) there is limited access to some sensory components. Together, these suggest flavor perception is partially holistic, with odor and taste forming a common sensory channel in the mouth. One reason for this mode of perception is food choice. Flavor memories can support the identification of nutritious food via: (1) recovery of the flavor percept-thus including taste and somatosensory experiences-via sniffing; (2) visual priming of flavor expectancies; and (3) affective reaction to flavor, reflecting the effects of previous bouts of ingestion (eg, sickness). These allow food acceptability to be assessed prior to ingestion, as well as supporting the detection of adulterated food.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFlavor
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Food to Behaviors, Wellbeing and Health
EditorsPatrick Etiévant, Elisabeth Guichard, Christian Salles, Andrée Voilley
Place of PublicationDuxford, UK
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780081003008
ISBN (Print)9780081002957
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2016

Publication series

NameWoodhead Publishing Series in Food Science Technology and Nutrition
ISSN (Print)2042-8049


  • Flavor
  • Holistic
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Multisensory
  • Olfaction

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    Stevenson, R. J. (2016). Holistic perception and memorization of flavor. In P. Etiévant, E. Guichard, C. Salles, & A. Voilley (Eds.), Flavor: From Food to Behaviors, Wellbeing and Health (pp. 161-180). (Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science Technology and Nutrition; Vol. 299). Duxford, UK: Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-100295-7.00008-6