Virtual reality can alter taste!

Humans not only relish the sweet, savory and saltiness of foods, but they are influenced by the environment in which they eat. Cornell University food scientists used virtual reality to show how people's perception of real food can be altered by their surroundings, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science. About 50 panelists who used virtual reality headsets as they ate were given three identical samples of blue cheese. The study participants were virtually placed in a standard sensory booth, a pleasant park bench and the Cornell cow barn to see custom-recorded 360-degree videos. The panelists were unaware that the cheese samples were identical, and rated the pungency of the blue cheese significantly higher in the cow barn setting than in the sensory booth or the virtual park bench. To control the pungency results, panelists also rated the saltiness of the three samples - and researchers found there was no statistical difference among them.