What Pringles and audio filters can teach us about our brains

By Milton Posner

This month, researchers will gather in Hamburg, Germany for CHI, the world’s top conference in the field of human–computer interaction. And nested within a mountain of research spanning everything from high-tech robotics to futuristic AI to connective social computing, there lies a study with something very different at its core: Pringles.

These chips are uniquely useful experimental stimuli for food-tech research, as their uniform size, texture, and flavor allows researchers to create consistent food samples and investigate how environmental conditions affect the eating experience. In a new study co-led by Rébecca Kleinberger, a jointly appointed professor within Khoury College and the Department of Music in the College of Arts, Media and Design, the team used the popular snack to test how auditory senses impact people’s perception of their food. The researchers gave Pringles to study subjects and modulated the sound of their chewing, then observed how each audio filter altered the subjects’ perceptions of both the food and their own hunger.

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