van der Bilt A, Pocztaruk RL, Frasca LCF, van der Glas HW, Abbink JH. The influence of auditory and visual information on the neuromuscular control of chewing crispy food.
The influence of auditory and/or visual information on the neuromuscular control of chewing a crispy food was investigated. Participants chewed biscuits of three different levels of crispness under four experimental conditions: no masking, auditory masking, visual masking, and auditory plus visual masking. The order of the four masking condition blocks was randomized. The sound of chewing was masked by loud sounds on a headphone, and visual masking of the food was achieved by closing the eyes. Mechanical tests were performed on the biscuits to determine their characteristics, yield force, and sound production. Skull vibration, jaw-muscle activity, and jaw movement were measured while the subjects chewed and swallowed the food. Auditory and/or visual masking did not have a significant effect on skull vibration, muscle activity, and number of chewing cycles until swallowing. However, auditory and/or visual masking significantly increased the chewing cycle duration, but only for the participants who started the experiments with auditory and/or visual masking. The other participants were not influenced by masking. The memory of the unmodified stimuli helped these subjects to maintain their habitual chewing rate in later trials.