Food color is in the eye of the beholder: The role of human trichromatic vision in food evaluation

Journal article


Foroni, Francesco, Pergola, Giulio and Rumiati, Raffaella Ida. (2016) Food color is in the eye of the beholder: The role of human trichromatic vision in food evaluation. Scientific Reports. 6, pp. 1 - 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep37034
AuthorsForoni, Francesco, Pergola, Giulio and Rumiati, Raffaella Ida
Abstract

Non-human primates evaluate food quality based on brightness of red and green shades of color, with red signaling higher energy or greater protein content in fruits and leafs. Despite the strong association between food and other sensory modalities, humans, too, estimate critical food features, such as calorie content, from vision. Previous research primarily focused on the effects of color on taste/flavor identification and intensity judgments. However, whether evaluation of perceived calorie content and arousal in humans are biased by color has received comparatively less attention. In this study we showed that color content of food images predicts arousal and perceived calorie content reported when viewing food even when confounding variables were controlled for. Specifically, arousal positively co-varied with red-brightness, while green-brightness was negatively associated with arousal and perceived calorie content. This result holds for a large array of food comprising of natural food - where color likely predicts calorie content - and of transformed food where, instead, color is poorly diagnostic of energy content. Importantly, this pattern does not emerged with nonfood items. We conclude that in humans visual inspection of food is central to its evaluation and seems to partially engage the same basic system as non-human primates.

Year2016
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation6, pp. 1 - 6
PublisherNature Publishing Company
ISSN2045-2322
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/srep37034
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84995395360
Open accessOpen access
Page range1 - 6
Research GroupSchool of Philosophy
Publisher's version
Additional information

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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