SATO Wataru Laboratory

Facial EMG correlates of subjective hedonic responses during food consumption

(Sato, Minemoto, Ikegami, Nakauma, Funami, & Fushiki: Nutrients)

An exploration of physiological correlates of subjective hedonic responses while eating food has practical and theoretical significance.
Previous psychophysiological studies have suggested that some physiological measures, including facial electromyography (EMG), may correspond to hedonic responses while viewing food images or drinking liquids.
However, whether consuming solid food could produce such subjective-physiological concordance remains untested.

To investigate this issue, we assessed participants' subjective ratings of liking, wanting, valence, and arousal while they consumed gel-type food stimuli of various flavors and textures.
We additionally measured their physiological signals, including facial EMG from the corrugator supercilii.

The results showed that liking, wanting, and valence ratings were negatively correlated with corrugator supercilii EMG activity.
Only the liking rating maintained a negative association with corrugator supercilii activity when the other ratings were partialed out.

These data suggest that the subjective hedonic experience, specifically the liking state, during food consumption can be objectively assessed using facial EMG signals and may be influenced by such somatic signals.

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