Sensory specific satiety: More than ‘just’ habituation?

Laura L. Wilkinson, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

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

14 Citations (Scopus)
348 Downloads (Pure)


Sensory specific satiety (SSS) describes the decline in pleasantness associated with a food as it is eaten relative to a food that has not been eaten (the ‘eaten’ and ‘uneaten’ foods, respectively). The prevailing view is that SSS is governed by habituation. Nevertheless, the extent to which SSS results solely from this ‘low-level’ process remains unclear. Three experiments were conducted to explore the hypothesis that ‘top-down’ cognitive activity affects the expression of SSS; specifically, we manipulated participants' expectations about whether or not they would have access to alternative test foods (uneaten foods) after consuming a test meal (eaten food). This manipulation was motivated by ‘Commodity Theory,’ which describes the relative increase in value of a commodity when it becomes unavailable. We tested the hypothesis that a decline in the pleasantness and desire to eat the eaten food is exaggerated when uneaten foods are unavailable to participants. None of our findings supported this proposition – we found no evidence that SSS is dependent on top-down processes associated with the availability of other uneaten test foods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
Early online date20 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • Sensory specific satiety
  • Commodity theory
  • Habituation
  • Perceived variety


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