Calorie Learning: First Results

I made random flavors by mixing 4 randomly-chosen spice mixtures into butter. I spread the butter on 2 pieces of Wonder Bread. I used each mixture more than once — twice in a row (1st mixture), three times in a row (2nd mixture), four times in a row (3rd mixture). Each trial consisted of a flavor-calorie pairing — flavor from the spices, calories from the bread. Each trial also provided a rating, which measured the learning.

Here are the ratings of how good the bread tasted.

flavor-calorie learning results

This was good. 1. The ratings started near 50 (neutral) each time. I’d like to have a large supply of flavors so that I can start fresh each time. These results suggest that randomly mixing 4 spice mixes provides this. The 4 spice mixes were randomly chosen from 10 spice mixes — so there are a lot of possible combinations. 2. The learning per trial was substantial.

More in the category Calorie Learning.

5 Responses to “Calorie Learning: First Results”

  1. LemmusLemmus Says:

    Just in case nobody’s pointed it out yet, I think that in this experiment there is a very, very big danger of reuslts being marred by the placebo effect. Yes, I know you’re a bit of a skeptic in this respect. But you wouldn’t dispute it exissts, would you?

    That’s not to say the experiment isn’t interesting; it certainly is and I’m going to follow it.

  2. seth Says:

    “very very big danger” — on what do you base this belief?

  3. LemmusLemmus Says:

    a) on the general knowledge of the placebo effect

    b) on the knowledge that you know which results you want to find

    Granted, “danger” may be too strong a word. Nobody’s going to get hurt.

  4. LemmusLemmus Says:

    I forgot:

    c) on the knowledge that liking a food is subjective – there is no objective measure, so you’ll have to rate, and in this respect b) comes into play.

  5. Matt Goff Says:

    I’ve noticed what I suspect is the same effect with the flavored Wheat Thins. When I eat Parmesan Basil or the Tomato Basil crackers for the first time after a long break, I don’t care for the taste (though I don’t find it horrible). Usually I eat a few more anyway because they’re convenient, and I find they seem to taste much better. Before long, I have a hard time not eating them because they taste so good. This experience has been consistent every time I’ve eaten them (which isn’t very often), and before reading about Calorie Learning, I didn’t have a good theory for why it worked that way.

    One thing I wonder about is whether it would be possible to use this idea to develop tastes for foods that I feel like it would be worth liking. I’m thinking in particular of locally produced foods that would be good to eat for a variety of reasons, but I’m not so thrilled with the taste. Also, given that the Wheat Thin flavor seems to reset after some period of time, I wonder if it’s even possible to make the Calorie Learning-based perception of good flavor permanent (by which I mean the perception that they taste good remains even if there is a significant gap between times of consumption or the fast calories disappear, but the flavored (s)low calorie food remains).