Do spices have the same odor on the other side of world ? effect of culture on spice odor perception

Abstract : Culture is known to affect people’s ability to identify or describe everyday odors (Chrea et al, 2005). For example, Vietnamese students are better at identifying the odor of ginger than French students who are better at identifying the odor of blackcurrant. Familiarity has been suggested as a factor underlying this effect. The goal of this study was to evaluate further this interpretation and to explore its role in the perception of spices in France and Thailand. We evaluated if food habits link to a given culture (e.g. eating curry) would impact individuals’ ability to identify (verbal task) or recognize (perceptual task) odors presented alone or in mixtures. Six spices were selected from a questionnaire and an identification pre-test performed in France and Thailand. Among these spices three were more familiar to French people (cinnamon, cumin, star anise) and three to Thai people (garlic powder, curcuma and lemongrass). One hundred and twenty participants were recruited in each country. Half of them carried out the verbal task and the other half carried out the perceptual task. In the verbal task participants had to identify each spice by selecting the right spice name among six names. In the perceptual task, they had to do the same thing by selecting the right flask among six un-named spice flasks. Data were analyzed using signal detection theory. The results show a global significant effect of the familiarity level, strengthening previous literature data on the impact of familiarity on odor perception. The more people are familiar with spices, the more they are able to recognize them. But as expected, this effect is dependent on the task (verbal vs. perceptual) and participants’ country. Thai assessors performed better in the perceptual task than in the verbal task, whatever the familiarity level. No such effect was observed for French participants.
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Poster communications
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Submitted on : Monday, July 8, 2019 - 10:20:00 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02176334, version 1

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Maud Lelievre-Desmas, S. Suwonsichon, W. Chantrapornchai, A. Sea-Eaw, Dominique Valentin, et al.. Do spices have the same odor on the other side of world ? effect of culture on spice odor perception. SPISE - Summer Program In Sensory Evaluation, Jul 2016, Hô Chi Minh City, Vietnam. ⟨hal-02176334⟩

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