Developmental differences in sensory decision making involved in deciding to try a novel fruit

Terence M Dovey, Victoria K Aldridge, Wendy Dignan, Paul A Staples, E Leigh Gibson, Jason C G Halford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: This research compared sensory processing and personality traits involved in deciding to try a novel fruit (guava) in adults and children.

DESIGN: The research employed an age, sex, and food neophobia matched between-participant design to examine sensory decision making in choosing to eat a novel fruit.

METHODS: Forty-four adults (Study 1) and 68 children (Study 2) took part. In each study, participants were separated into two groups to investigate whether prior assessment of a familiar and liked fruit (apple) that shares similar visual characteristics to the target novel fruit (guava) increased the likelihood that an individual would decide to try it. All participants completed appetitive and familiarity ratings by sensory stages: vision, smell, and touch, prior to trying (tasting) the fruit. Participants (or their parents) also completed the general and food neophobia scales and adults also completed the sensation-seeking scale.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight adults (64%) tried the guava and 16 did not (36%). In the second study, 22 children decided not to try the novel fruit (32%). Significant predictors of whether the adult tried the target fruit were Thrill and Adventure Seeking, Experience Seeking, General Neophobia, and 'appealing to touch'. In children, Food Neophobia, concurrent presentation of a familiar fruit alongside the target and visual assessment of the target predicted decision to try the novel fruit.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that touch is pertinent to adults' decision to try a novel fruit, whereas visual cues appear to be more important for children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-72
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Food Habits
  • Food Preferences
  • Fruit
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Phobic Disorders
  • Sensation
  • Taste
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult

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