Exhibition and talks to share latest research into taste, smell and multisensory perception

Exhibition and talks to share latest research into taste, smell and multisensory perception

Issued: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:03:00 GMT

‘The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell’, 21 November 2014, will share the latest research into multisensory interactions involving taste, smell and the other sensory modalities being carried out by psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers working on the Rethinking the Senses project.

‘The Hidden Senses’ will include interactive talks, a public lecture and demonstrations that will challenge your preconceptions about your senses of taste and smell. Themes include how vital smell is to flavor perception, the many ways in which what you see impacts on your experience of eating and the remarkable connections between smell, memory and emotion. The event brings researchers from the humanities and sciences together with artists, experts from the world of perfumery and Fifth Sense, the UK’s first charity for people affected by taste and smell disorders, to engage with the public and convey the significance of our chemical senses.

Professor Charles Spence (Oxford) will give a public lecture on The Perfect Meal, drawing on his extensive research into multisensory food perception. The talk will move beyond the contributions of smell and taste to flavour perception, to examine how the other senses contribute in astonishing ways to our dining experience. Professor Spence will also be signing copies of his new book ‘The Perfect Meal: the Multisensory Science of Food and Dining’, co-authored with Betina Piqueras-Fiszman.

Award-winning perfume writer Persolaise and perfumer and perfume historian Stephen Nelson, will talk about the history of perfume and how we can capture the qualities of scent in prose. Dr Jonathan Silas and Dr Margot Crossman will lead an experimental demonstration on fragrance and memory, and Dr Ophelia Deroy will explore the plating of food in collaboration with the experimental team from a 3 star Michelin restaurant.

A collection of demonstrations will allow you to investigate the research for yourselves using your own senses of taste and smell. Highlights include the Scentee, a device for your mobile that digitalises smell created by Professor Adrian Cheok of the Mixed Reality Lab, and Fifth Sense’s Smell the Difference challenge. ‘The Lab’ will show how taste and smell are tested in the laboratory and an interactive art installation from photojournalist Eléonore de Bonneval will reveal the value of our senses of smell in our daily lives.

‘The Hidden Senses’ will be held at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre on 21 November 2014. Demonstrations, interactive installations and testing in The Lab will run from 2pm until 8pm and are open to all. The public lecture (2.30pm and repeated at 7pm) and interactive talks (3.30pm and repeated at 5.30pm) are free but booking is required. Information about booking can be found at www.thesenses.ac.uk/.

‘The Hidden Senses’ is part of the programme of the national Being Human Festival of the Humanities (beinghumanfestival.org/), organised by the School of Advanced Study. This public event showcases the work of the Rethinking the Senses project (www.thesenses.ac.uk/). The Rethinking the Senses project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Science in Culture theme.

Find out more about the event at www.senses.ac.uk and follow the latest news on Twitter at @rethink_senses