Current Nutrition Reports
Purpose of Review
To highlight the range of methodological approaches used to objectively measure hedonic responses to taste stimuli during the first year of life and how these behavioral responses change with experience. Challenges inherent to this type of research are discussed.
Although newborns display characteristic orofacial reactivity to four of the five basic tastes, the facial expressions made and the amount of food consumed can be modified by experience: children learn to like what they are fed. In some cases, changes in facial responses are concordant with infant consumption, whereas in other cases facial reactivity follows changes in intake.
Together with ingestive measurements, precise and objective measurements of orofacial reactivity provide an understanding of how early experiences shift the hedonic tone of the taste of foods, the foundation of dietary preferences.
Forestell, Catherine A. and Mennella, Julie A., The Relationship Between Infant Facial Expressions and Food Acceptance (2017). Current Nutrition Reports, 6, 141-147.