Marco Baldocchi Group
Neuromarketing Agency
0   /   100

Proprioception: posture and taste

proprioception posture and taste
Start reading

Proprioception: the forgotten sense

Proprioception is the ability to perceive and recognize the position of the body in space and the state of contraction of the muscles, without the support of sight.

The first to talk about it was neurophysiologist Charles Scott Sherrington. According to him, proprioception is the “sixth” sense as it is regulated by a specific part of the brain.

The effect of proprioception on taste

Very often we are not even aware of this sense.

What if I told you that it has a more significant impact on our lives than we think?

A 2019 research study looked at the effects of the vestibular system responsible for balance and posture.

The results of six experiments showed that proprioception affects perceptions of food taste.

Specifically, standing (vs. sitting) postures induce more physical stress on the body, decreasing sensory sensitivity.

It is for this reason that when eating while standing, consumers judge the taste of food and beverages differently. 

In particular, consumers perceive the temperature as less intense and consume smaller amounts of product.

These results are useful for understanding the impact of sensory systems on taste perceptions of foods.

The results also have practical implications for the design of restaurants, stores, and other food service environments.

proprioception: posture and taste

What happens to our body when we eat standing up

Why can the vestibular system affect the sensory one?

The explanation can be found in physical stress.

Standing requires more muscle activation in the trunk, legs, and feet, and therefore causes more physical stress in these areas of the body.

When an individual is standing, the feet and legs must support the entire body mass. Whereas when an individual is sitting in a chair with a backrest, the back, pelvis, and glutes distribute body mass.

Standing positions procure different physiological responses.

Standing has been shown to increase heart rate, activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), and lead to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.

The increase in heart rate and decrease in blood pressure can persist for forty minutes after one moves from sitting to a standing position.

An experiment to support this thesis

Some researchers carried out an experiment of tasting pita chips first in a standing position and then in an unpadded chair with a backrest.

The results showed that vestibular sensations associated with posture affect taste perception.

Consumers perceive the same food to taste better when tasted in a sitting position.

This test was followed by another with an element of physical stress induced.

Participants had to hold a heavy bag while they ate and evaluated the food.

The study showed that the induction of physical stress reduced taste evaluations for seated consumers to levels similar to consumers in the standing control condition.

Additional physical stress did not further reduce taste perceptions among standing individuals.

In conclusion, this sixth sense must also be part of the research on the unconscious drivers of the perception of quantity consumed.

We know that factors such as labels or packaging, the texture of the food, and its smell influence the perception of the product and the resulting quantity consumed.

Add to these aspects that the posture maintained while eating can also have a great influence.

If you want to learn more about this topic, this article is an excerpt from my book “Neurofood: neuromarketing applied to the world of food and wine” published by Hoepli.

Book neurofood marco baldocchi

Any questions? Send me an email at .

Follow me on instagram and facebook to stay up-to-date about neuromarketing and consumer behavior news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *