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Affective evaluation of food images according to stimulus and subject characteristics

Padulo, C., Carlucci, L., Marzoli, D., Manippa, V., Tommasi, L., Saggino, A., Puglisi‐Allegra, S., Brancucci, A.
Journal of human nutrition and dietetics 2018 v.31 no.6 pp. 715-724
cooking, food choices, foods, gender, hunger, sensation
BACKGROUND: The food‐rich environment in which we live makes the regulation of food choices a very complex phenomenon determined by many factors, as well as their interactions. Much evidence suggests that the sensory perception of food can be considered as a central factor affecting individual food choices. Despite this, the approaches used to study the various food aspects usually do not distinguish between different types of food. METHODS: In the present study, a large and heterogeneous sample of 1149 participants aged 7–90 years was asked to judge food images that were labelled differently (i.e. Raw versus Cooked, Natural versus Transformed and Simple versus Complex) with respect to arousal, valence, typicality and familiarity. RESULTS: We observed that, across food dimensions (i.e., Raw versus Cooked, Natural versus Transformed and Simple versus Complex), arousal, valence and typicality judgments were principally affected by a subjective hunger level and gender (and their interaction) and, to a lesser extent, by age. CONCLUSIONS: As a whole, our findings suggest that the level of transformation (which includes cooking) and the complexity of a foodstuff could at least partially affect food processing, entailing that future research should also address these features.