Mouth-watering words: Articulatory inductions of eating-like mouth movements increase perceived food palatability

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We explored the impact of consonantal articulation direction of names for foods on expected palatability for these foods (total N = 256). Dishes (Experiments 1-2) and food items (Experiment 3) were labeled with names whose consonants either wandered from the front to the back of the mouth (inward, e.g., PASOKI) or from the back to the front of the mouth (outward; e.g., KASOPI). Because inward (outward) wandering consonant sequences trigger eating-like (expectoration-like) mouth movements, dishes and foods were rated higher in palatability when they bore an inward compared to an outward wandering name. This effect occurred already under silent reading and for hungry and satiated participants alike. As a boundary condition, this articulation effect did occur when also additional visual information on the product was given (Experiment 3), but vanished when this visual information was too vivid and rich in competing palatability cues (Experiment 2). Future marketing can exploit this effect by increasing the appeal of food products by using inward wandering brand names, that is, names that start with the lips and end in the throat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2016