An analysis of sensory-specific satiation: food liking, food wanting, and the effects of distraction

Peter J Rogers*, Finn Drumgoole, Eleanor Quinlan, Yasmin Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Sensory-specific satiation is the transient loss of reward value of a recently eaten food versus recently uneaten foods. In this study, participants (n = 70 young women and men with healthy body weight) were randomised to eat a fixed portion of either cream cheese bagel or chocolate chip brioche for breakfast. They were also randomised to one of four ‘mindset’ manipulations (attention, distraction, eating rate, and control). Before and after their meal, participants tasted and evaluated the two foods for desire to eat (a measure of the momentary reward value of the food) and liking (the momentary pleasantness of the of taste of the food). Consistent with sensory-specific satiation, desire to eat and liking decreased more for the eaten food than for the uneaten food. Furthermore, there was a sensory-specific effect for food wanting (calculated as desire to eat minus liking). Analyses ruled out floor effects on liking which could have biased results in favour of finding a sensory-specific effect on wanting. To our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate clearly that sensory-specific satiation comprises a sensory-specific decrease in wanting as well as liking. Further results showed that rated hunger predicted wanting but not liking, and that meal enjoyment (experienced food reward) and post-prandial fullness independently predicted meal satisfaction. A notable effect of mindset was that distraction compared with control almost completely abolished sensory-specific satiation, indicating the involvement of explicit memory processes in this phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101688
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Motivation
Early online date19 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2020

Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • Food reward
  • Liking
  • Wanting
  • Sensory-specific satiation
  • Distraction
  • Satisfaction


Dive into the research topics of 'An analysis of sensory-specific satiation: food liking, food wanting, and the effects of distraction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this