How does the music in a restaurant affect what drink you buy and what it tastes like? What aromas make you spend more time and money when eating out? How does the size of the group you’re with affect how long you spend eating?
In a fascinating talk at the Institute of Cultural Research on Sunday Dr Neil Martin, of Middlesex University, will provide some surprising answers to these questions and look at other amazing aspects of the psychology of smell, taste and eating.
Dr Martin, who runs the Human Olfactory Laboratory at Middlesex, will be speaking on the second day of the two-day seminar, “The Meaning of Food” and will reveal some of the more surprising aspects of how our thinking is affected by food.
He will also discuss how both the scent and the taste of chocolate affect the brain and how odour can have surprising effects on our behaviour.
Dr Martin said: “Odours and ambient sounds can influence so many aspects of our experience in a restaurant, including how much we spend and how long we stay, as can who we’re there with. In the talk I’ll be letting people in on some of the secrets. They could go away with some useful advice, for instance, if you’re trying not to splash out too much on the wine, you’d better ignore the noise if they’re playing classical music, as it actually increases the sales of expensive wine.”
The talk takes place at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square on Sunday.
Dr Martin is currently writing a book on the neuropsychology of smell and taste.