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 Replies to “Calorie Learning: First Results”

  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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).

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