SATO Wataru Laboratory

Subjective-physiological coherence during food consumption in older adults

(Saito, Sato, Ikegami, Ishihara, Nakauma, Funami, Fushiki, & Yoshikawa: Nutrients)

Subjective-physiological emotional coherence is thought to be associated with enhanced well-being, and a relationship between subjective-physiological emotional coherence and superior nutritional status has been suggested in older populations.
However, no study has examined subjective-physiological emotional coherence among older adults while tasting food.
Accordingly, the present study compared subjective-physiological emotional coherence during food consumption among older and younger adults.

Participants consumed bite-sized gel-type foods with different flavors and provided their subjective ratings of the foods while their physiological responses (facial electromyography (EMG) of the corrugator supercilia, masseter, and suprahyoid, and other autonomic nervous system signals) were simultaneously measured.

Our primary findings were that:
(1) the ratings of liking, wanting, and valence were negatively correlated with corrugator EMG activity in older and young adult participants.
(2) the positive association between masseter EMG activity and ratings of wanting/valence was weaker in the older than in the young adult group.
(3) arousal ratings were negatively correlated with corrugator EMG activity in the older group only.

These results demonstrate commonalities and differences in subjective-physiological emotional coherence during food intake between older and young adults.

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