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Food memory and its relation with age and liking: An incidental learning experiment with children, young and elderly people

Laureati, M., Morin-Audebrand, L., Pagliarini, E., Sulmont-Rossé, C., Köster, E.P., Mojet, J.
Appetite 2008 v.51 no.2 pp. 273-282
children, elderly, young adults, foods, senescence, food choices, taste, texture, odors, gender differences, test meals, memory, mathematical models, learning, desserts, sensory properties, sensation, diet, diet recall
The present study compared incidental learning and food memory in children, young adults and elderly people for three sensory modalities (taste, texture and aroma). The relation of gender and liker-status (i.e. how much we like a product) with food memory was also investigated. Participants received a complete meal including a custard dessert used as target under incidental learning conditions. 24h later, participants were confronted with a series of samples consisting of the target and slightly modified versions of the target (distractors) and were unexpectedly asked to perform an “absolute memory” (“Did you eat this sample yesterday?”) and a “relative memory” test (“Is the present sample less/equal/more pleasant than the one you ate yesterday?”). Participants also performed a hedonic and a discrimination test. Memory for the custard was poor and did not depend on age, but it was related to gender, and to how much participants liked the product. Females and high-likers outperformed males and low-likers in the absolute memory task, but they were not better in discriminating the products on both the hedonic and the perceptual dimension. Results also showed that, contrary to common belief, not all sensory aspects that can be discriminated in perception and in liking, are equally well remembered.