Sensory aspects of food consumption – enable

Drawing of a brain, the seven aspects of food perception are grouped around it, texture, taste, smell, temperature, trigeminal, appearance, noise
Interaction of different modalities during the holistic perception of food
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Selection and appraisal of foods

Within the nutrition research cluster enable we investigate the effect of sensory perception on food selection and appraisal. We use olfactory and gustatory stimuli in combination with images and sounds to acquire behavioral and functional imaging data.

enable is one of four nutrition research clusters being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The goal of the cluster is to develop new strategies for healthier diets for people in all age groups. Our expertise in sensory perception helps to improve understanding of the acceptance, preference, and also aversion of consumers to particular staple and luxury foods.

Within the enable cluster we carry out the following three projects:

Effect of expectations on the sensory perception and selection of foods

We create expectations in test persons whereby we make various health claims (low-sugar or protein-enriched) and observe how these expectations affect the olfactory perception of the test persons. This project is carried out in collaboration with colleagues in the three other German nutrition research clusters (NutriAct, nutriCARD, and DietBB).

Effect of different sequence parameters on the results of olfactory fMRI studies

In functional imaging studies, artifacts often make data interpretation impossible. As the processing of olfactory stimuli in the human brain is particularly localized in these regions, optimization of the image quality is very important for olfactory studies. In this project we collaborate with colleagues at GE and study the effect of novel imaging methods on the quality of the resulting fMRI images.

Effectiveness of attention training on sensory perception and the underlying neuronal network

Stress is seen as a key cause of overweight and obesity. Innovative studies show that attention training can lead to stress reduction and consequently weight reduction. In this project we collaborate with neuroradiology experts at the Technische Universität München and study the effect of attention training on odor perception and the central processing of olfactory stimuli. The results of this project help to prevent people becoming overweight.

Project term: 2018 to 2021
Project management
/project funding:
Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF