Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Food Science


Seo, Han-Seok

Committee Member/Reader

Osborn, Scott

Committee Member/Second Reader

Wang, Yao-Chin


Extrinsic cues like plate color have been shown to effect taste perception. Previous studies conducted show a consensus that plate colors can modulate taste perception (Piqueras-Fizman et al., 2012, Stewart & Gross, 2013). No studies, however, have investigated varying color hues and their effect on taste perception. This study aims to determine whether the change in the black to white ratio of plate color can affect consumer perception of sweetness or bitterness.

We presented a group of volunteers two different brownies on plates varying from 100% white to 0% white in 25% increments. A 30:70 male to female gender ratio was established with m = 210. The two brownie samples were made with different amounts of coco powder and sugar. A series of questions measured with a 9-point categorical hedonic scale and a 9-point categorical intensity scale were asked. The following questions had the most interesting results: appearance liking, flavor liking, and overall liking.

The results of this study found for the dark chocolate brownies flavor liking and overall liking were not significantly different between the groups according to Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD), but there was suggestion that the 0% white, 50% white, and 100% white colors had higher chocolate flavor intensities and higher overall liking ratings. For the milk chocolate brownies, the appearance liking was shown to have no significant difference between the 5 groups by HSD. These results counter the notion that plate color influences the perception of sweetness previously seen to be true, and they show that for bitterness the influence of plate color hue is not influential in overall liking. This leads to the conclusion that in a restaurant setting, for brownie products specifically, the plate color used will not impact the overall liking of the product.


Plate color, liking, taste perception, sweetness, bitterness, grey-scale