Self-construal priming modulates sonic seasoning

Front Psychol. 2023 Apr 3;14:1041202. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1041202. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: "Sonic seasoning" is when music influences the real taste experiences of consumers. "Self-construal" is how individuals perceive, understand, and interpret themselves. Numerous studies have shown that independent and interdependent self-construal priming can affect a person's cognition and behavior; however, their moderating effect on the sonic seasoning effect remains unclear.

Methods: This experiment was a 2 (self-construal priming: independent self-construal or interdependent self-construal) × 2 (chocolate: milk chocolate or dark chocolate) × 2 (emotional music: positive emotional music or negative emotional music) mixed design, and explored the moderating role of self-construal priming and the effect of emotional music on taste by comparing participants' evaluations of chocolates while listening to positive or negative music after different levels of self-construal priming.

Results: After initiating independent self-construal, participants increased their ratings of milk chocolate sweetness when listening to music that elicited positive emotions, t(32) = 3.11, p = 0.004, Cohen's d = 0.54, 95% CI = [0.33, 1.61]. In contrast, interdependent self-construal priming led participants to perceive dark chocolate as sweeter when they heard positive music, t(29) = 3.63, p = 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.66, 95%CI = [0.44, 1.56].

Discussion: This study provides evidence for improving people's individual eating experience and enjoyment of food.

Keywords: emotional music; self-construal priming; sensory marketing; sonic seasoning; tasting experience.

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, awarded to JH (Grant No. 32100875).