Scientists Make Stale Chips Taste Fresh With An Audio Edit
For a study published in 2004, participants wore headphones as they bit into 180 identical Pringles potato chips and rated each one on its freshness. The headphones let them hear real-time audio of the crunch with each bite, but what they didn't know was that the researchers were subtly changing the sound: they boosted or lowered the high frequencies of some chips and turned up or down the volume on others. The results showed that people will rate a chip as tasting fresher if the crunch has more high frequencies or a louder volume, and more stale and soft when the high frequencies or volume were turned down. This interaction of multiple senses, known as crossmodal perception, is nothing new. In fact, the researchers got the idea from a phenomenon called the "parchment skin illusion," where scientists can change your perception of your hands' texture by altering the sound you hear when you rub them together.
Check Out This Month's Most Popular Topic
Key Facts In This Video
Crossmodal perception occurs when two or more of your senses interact with each other. (0:44)
People associate sweet and sour tastes with high-pitched notes and umami and bitter tastes with low-pitched notes. (2:32)
Auditory-taste synesthetes taste flavors on their tongue when they hear certain sounds without requiring any food present. (3:37)