Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Food Science


Han-Seok Seo

Committee Member

Navam S. Hettiarachchy

Second Committee Member

Connie Lamm

Third Committee Member

Sun-Ok Lee

Fourth Committee Member

Wenchao Zhou

Fifth Committee Member

Min Zou


capsaicin, cross-modal association, hand-feel touch, oral irritation, temporal-check-all-that-apply, time-intensity


Hand-feel touch cues have been shown to influence the perception of other sensory modalities and can be used as means to create expectations toward food or beverage products presented concurrently with such cues. However, to date, there has been limited research on how these hand-feel touch cues could impact oral irritation elicited by capsaicin-containing products. Because oral irritation sensation is a dynamic perception lasting a period of time, temporal methodologies, such as Time-Intensity (TI) and Temporal-Check-All-That-Apply (TCATA), must be used when evaluating capsaicin-containing products. The use of temporal methodologies when examining the cross-modal effects of other cues on capsaicin irritation has been limited. To fill these knowledge gaps, this dissertation aimed to determine 1) temporal sensory characteristics of capsaicin solution as a model irritant stimulus using TI and TCATA; 2) cross-modal associations between hand-feel touch cues (9 material tiles) and capsaicin-induced oral irritation; 3) crossmodal influences of hand-feel touch cues (2 cup materials) on oral irritation attributes in capsaicin solution; and 4) cross-modal influences of hand-feel touch cues (2 cup materials) on “tingling” sensation, as a subquality of overall oral irritation perception, in spicy beverages. Capsaicin solution (0.002 mg/mL) could be mostly described using four irritation subqualities – “burning”, “stinging/pricking”, “tingling”, and “warm/hot”, with moderate overall oral irritation maximum intensity that lasted 448 s on average. At this capsaicin concentration, the oral irritation sensation was best paired with rough sandpaper and least paired with stainless steel, which could be due to underlying similarities in the emotional responses evoked by both touch cues and capsaicin solution (high arousal, negative valence), as well as material pleasantness and instrumentallymeasured surface texture characteristics. Out of the four irritation subqualities, “tingling” was influenced the most by the differences in hand-feel touch cues (rough sandpaper & stainless steel materials). When presented with rough sandpaper cups, “tingling” sensation in capsaicin solutions and spicy beverages were felt to a greater degree and lasted longer than when presented with stainless steel cups. Meanwhile, when presented with stainless steel cups, “burning” sensation in capsaicin solution was felt to a greater degree than when presented with rough sandpaper cups. The findings of this dissertation highlighted the importance of considering hand-feel touch cues in product evaluation involving capsaicin. Noting the continued popularity of spicy food and beverage products, food and beverage professionals and researchers should consider incorporating more hand-feel textural features on product packaging and container design to elevate consumer consumption experience and create expectations that would match the oral irritation characteristics of their products.

Available for download on Monday, February 17, 2025