City Research Online

Knowing too much: knowledge of energy content prevents liking change through flavour-nutrient associations

Gould, N., Zandstra, E. H. & Yeomans, M. R. (2017). Knowing too much: knowledge of energy content prevents liking change through flavour-nutrient associations. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, doi: 10.1080/17470218.2017.1373360


Associations between flavours and the consequences of ingestion can lead to changes in flavour liking depending on nutrient content, an example of flavour-nutrient learning. Expectations about the consequences of ingestion can be modified by information at the point of ingestion, such as nutritional labelling. What is unknown is the extent to which these label-based expectations modify flavour-nutrient learning. Since nutrient information can alter expectations about how filling a product would be, we hypothesised that labels predicting higher energy (HE) content would enhance satiety and so promote more rapid flavour learning. To test this, participants consumed either a lower (LE: 164kcal) or HE (330kcal) yoghurt breakfast on four separate days, either with no product label or with labels displaying either the actual energy content (Congruent label) or inaccurate energy (Incongruent label). Participants rated liking on all four days: on days one and four they could also consume as much as they liked, but consumed a fixed amount (300g) on days two and three. Both liking and intake increased with exposure in the HE, and decreased in the LE, condition when unlabelled in line with flavour-nutrient learning. In contrast, no significant changes were seen in either the Congruent or Incongruent label conditions. Contrary to predictions, these data suggest that flavour-nutrient learning occurs when there is an absence of explicit expectations of actual nutrient content, with both accurate and inaccurate information on nutrient content disrupting learning.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology on 31/08/2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: flavour, learning, expectation, reward
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login