Course Program

Sensory and psychological determinants of eating behaviours

Lecture by Sandrine Monnery-Patris, PhD, research scientist with INRA

Eating cannot be reduced to the simple act of consuming food or nutrients. Eating or feeding oneself is a symbolic act. It is also a social act, which is an integral part of family life, a personal story and a given society. It is essential in creating identity and “otherness”. Yet, our diet has become a source of anxiety due to the numerous, often contradictory, messages which are omnipresent on social media and in the press, and often irrational recommendations which only serve to create confusion and misunderstanding in the consumer’s mind.

However, the story of how taste evolves is fascinating: it begins in the mother’s womb and continues to develop throughout our life. Using scientific studies, the aim of this presentation is to focus on how our taste spectrum is created, the importance of sensory awakening and taking pleasure in the act of eating, which act as a driving force in promoting a balanced diet and encouraging socialisation.

Firstly, we will examine the role of early sensorial experiences (in the womb, during breast feeding, with the introduction of new foods during weaning, during the first years of human life…) which will have an impact on the behaviour and future dietary choices of a young individual. We will also examine the different stages in the development of a child’s food repertoire, by examining the so called “golden age of taste buds”, and by focusing specifically on the emergence of food neophobia. Lastly, we will examine how the way in which a young consumer of food interacts with his/her family and cultural environment determines and drives the way in which they express their preferences and tastes.

The Hautes Etudes du Goût reserve the right to modify the organisation and structure of their course program

Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des des Arts de la Table

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