Sweet beats make gelato sweeter -- study

Sweet beats make gelato sweeter -- study

They say music is good for the soul, but apparently it is also good when you're eating gelato.

New research from AUT University shows those who ate chocolate gelato while listening to their favourite song reported higher levels of positive emotions and sweetness, even when eating the dark and bittersweet chocolate flavour.

Forty-five people -- 20 men and 25 women -- aged between 21 and 41 participated in the study. The participants listened to music while eating three different kinds of chocolate gelato -- dark, bittersweet and milk  and ranked the songs from their least- to most-favoured.

The participants were found through an advertisement on social media, and none were smokers, had hearing loss, reported eating disorders or had food-related health problems.

Each participant listened to 45 seconds of music from a chosen song representing 14 genres while eating between 5g and 8g of gelato. A computer in a sensory booth was then used to report changes in taste perception.

It is the first study to show how taste perceptions of different chocolate-flavoured gelato changes with different kinds of music.

It found disliked music decreased the pleasantness ratings of all tested types of chocolate gelato, elicited bitterness and either got rid of or shortened sweetness sensations.

Liked and neutral music increased perceived pleasantness ratings for all chocolate gelato, with an increase in sweetness perception.

But it wasn't the case for the milk chocolate and liked music where sweetness perception increased, though there was no perception of bitterness.

The authors, Associate Professor Nazimah Hamid and Tom Carr from Charles Sturt University in the United States, say this could be because the milk chocolate variety was a liked sample paired with liked music.

They believe further work is needed using objective physiological measures to observe the participant's mood instead of using self-assessed emotion scales which would give a better understanding of the report's findings.