On the bright side: The influence of brightness on overall taste intensity perception

Kimberley van der Heijden*, Anouk Festjens, Caroline Goukens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Ambient light luminance (i.e., brightness or dimness) is a frequently used tool by managers to enhance the overall ambience in their restaurants. The current research explores how a change in a restaurant's ambient brightness influences the overall taste intensity perception of the food that is being served there. We conducted a between-group experiment in a field setting (i.e., a fine-dining restaurant), where we manipulated the illuminance level of the ambient light (dim vs. bright). Guests were served a dish-tailored to our research question-and asked to evaluate its overall taste intensity. The results demonstrate that guests exposed to the bright ambient light perceived the overall taste of the dish as more intense as opposed to guests exposed to the dim ambient light. The results thus show that modifying the ambient illuminance level in a restaurant does not only affect the overall ambience but also changes the overall taste experience of the food being served. This finding is not only theoretically relevant for research on multisensory integration, but it also provides tools for taste modulation, and-as such-for strategies to decrease salt and sugar consumption among diners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104099
Number of pages5
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Ambient brightness
  • cross-modal interaction
  • field setting
  • overall taste intensity perception
  • Overall taste intensity perception
  • Cross-modal interaction
  • Field setting
  • FOOD


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