Consumption simulations induce salivation to food cues

Keesman, M., Aarts, H., Vermeent, S., Häfner, M. and Papies, E. (2016) Consumption simulations induce salivation to food cues. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0165449. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165449) (PMID:27820842) (PMCID:PMC5098730)

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Salivation to food cues is typically explained in terms of mere stimulus-response links. However, food cues seem to especially increase salivation when food is attractive, suggesting a more complex psychological process. Adopting a grounded cognition perspective, we suggest that perceiving a food triggers simulations of consuming it, especially when attractive. These simulations then induce salivation, which effectively prepares the body for eating the food. In two experiments, we systematically examined the role of simulations on salivation to food cues. As stimuli, both experiments used an attractive, a neutral, and a sour food, as well as a non-food control object. In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to simulate eating every object they would be exposed to. We then exposed them to each object separately. Salivation was assessed by having participants spit their saliva into a cup after one minute of exposure. In Experiment 2, we instructed half of participants to simulate eating each object, and half to merely look at them, while measuring salivation as in Experiment 1. Afterwards, participants rated their simulations and desire to eat for each object separately. As predicted, foods increased salivation compared to the non-food control object, especially when they were attractive or sour (Exp. 1 and 2). Importantly, attractive and sour foods especially increased salivation when instructed to simulate (Exp. 2). These findings suggest that consumption simulations play an important role in inducing salivary responses to food cues. We discuss directions for future research as well as the role of simulations for other appetitive processes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Papies, Dr Esther
Authors: Keesman, M., Aarts, H., Vermeent, S., Häfner, M., and Papies, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Keesman et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS One 11(11):e0165449
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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