Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating by Charles Spence - review by Felicity Cloake

Felicity Cloake

Mind over Morsel

Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating


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‘Gastrophysics’, a portmanteau of ‘gastronomy’ and ‘psychophysics’ (the study of perception), is defined by Charles Spence as ‘the scientific study of those factors that influence our multisensory experience whilst tasting food and drink’. In layman’s terms, it is an examination of the external factors that shape our responses to food and drink, which, as none of us eats or drinks in a vacuum, makes it a topic of universal interest. 

And, indeed, there is much of interest to be found within these pages. Spence, a professor of psychology at Oxford, sets out the case for the importance of his work on the first page with the bold claim that ‘the pleasures of the table reside in the mind,

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