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dc.contributor.authorKessler, H.
dc.contributor.authorWansink, B.
dc.contributor.authorZampollo, F.
dc.contributor.authorShimizu, M.
dc.contributor.authorAtakan, Şükriye Sinem
dc.descriptionDue to copyright restrictions, the access to the full text of this article is only available via subscription.
dc.description.abstractAmong the different methods to overcome picky eating and food neophobia (the fear of eating new or unfamiliar foods) in children, few have explored sensory engagement, more specifically haptic stimulation. There is little evidence as to how touching unfamiliar food influences one’s willingness to taste and consume it. This research explores whether the sense of touch – a sense that is not fully engaged when using utensils – might be used to guide children to be more accepting of an unfamiliar food. Haptic information like consistency, temperature, and texture could be fundamental while deciding to taste a novel food or not. Moreover, the practice of eating with your hands may be experienced as a fun activity due to again the sensory stimulation during the process. Given both the informative and fun nature of eating with one’s hands, we investigate whether the practice of eating with your hands may be used in the ‘discovery process’ of a novel food and help to diminish the negative feelings towards novel foods among children. Twenty-three 5 to 10 years old children (15 female, 8 male) participated in a field experiment during a summer-long camp in a medium-sized city in the Northeast United States. On four separate occasions, children were given two of four unfamiliar foods (along with a familiar control food) for lunch. They were assigned to either eating with your hands or with utensils. Plates were weighed before and after mealtime to determine the amount (grams) of food eaten. When eating an unfamiliar food (papaya, rambutans, Greek pasta, or Thai dumplings) with their hands, children ate on average 73.7% more than when they ate with utensils (Mhands = 123.0, Mutensils = 76.3 grams; t = 3.97, p < .01). Specifically, in the case of unfamiliar fruits (papaya or rambutans), on average children ate 30.8 grams (41.1% of the fruit) while eating with their hands as opposed to 10.9 grams (14.5% of the fruit) while using utensils (t = 2.82, p = .02). In the case of unfamiliar pasta (Thai dumplings or Greek pasta), on average children ate 92.2 grams (46.1% of the pasta) while eating with their hands as opposed to 65.4 grams (32.7% of the pasta) while using utensils (t = 2.43, p = .029). In addition to the unfamiliar foods, as a control variable, the children had also been given a familiar and highly favored food (cherry-flavored finger gelatin). As expected, regardless of whether the children ate with their hands (M = 96.3) or with utensils (M = 87.6), they ate a comparable amount of the familiar food (t=0.82, p = .68). The results reveal that haptic stimulation during a meal encourages children to consume more of an unfamiliar food although it has no impact on familiar food. It seems that the greater the number of senses that are included in the first encounter with a novel food, the easier the decision to eat for a child. On a practical level, the findings challenge the long discouraged approach of not letting children touch or “play with” their food. In contrast, it appears to be a beneficial means to expose children to a more varied diet and decrease picky eating and perhaps even food neophobia.en_US
dc.publisherFederation of American Societies for Experimental Biologyen_US
dc.relation.ispartofThe FASEB Journal
dc.titlePlaying with food: how touch facilitates a child’s intake of unfamiliar foodsen_US
dc.typeMeeting abstracten_US
dc.contributor.departmentÖzyeğin University
dc.contributor.authorID(ORCID 0000-0002-7106-3215 & YÖK ID 124611) Atakan, Sinem
dc.contributor.ozuauthorAtakan, Şükriye Sinem
dc.relation.publicationcategoryMeeting Abstract - Institutional Academic Staff

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