By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 24, 2015
Credit: © John Kernick

A good wine can enhance the taste of your dinner, but as it turns out, so can a good story. One group of researchers is working on better understanding that specific experience.

A team at the University of West of England is experimenting with “Storytelling & flavour perception with brain scanners.” “I’m keen to see how emotions can influence flavors,” James Wheale told Munchies. He founded Understory, an immersive dining company, and is one of the leaders on the project.

To conduct the study, Wheale’s participants listen to stories while eating chocolate. They’re wired to EEG scanners to track brain activity during the experience. Wheale hopes to use this information to create a chocolate bar that can actually enhance a specific story.

“It will be inspired by the classic story opening, 'It was a dark and stormy night,'” Wheale was quoted as saying. “By combining popping candy, mint and a few other ingredients, I hope to elicit a sensory experience that complements the story. The mint cools the mouth, emulating the chill of the night; the popping candy is reminiscent of the thunder claps, and so on.”

The idea that a meal is more than just the food on the plate isn’t a new one, but these experiments hope to go deeper into understanding how what someone is saying to us may actually change our perception of what we’re tasting.