Users of 'diet' drinks who think that sweetness is calories

RPJ Freeman, David Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first experiment that was based on a novel analysis of the mental processes of choice. Sensed material characteristics such as the sweetness of a drink and symbolic attributes such as the source of sweetness stated on the label are put into the same units of influence on the response. Most users of low-calorie drinks thought about the energy in a drink quite differently from the way they decided how sweet and how low in calories they liked the drink to be. Also the female diet drink users thought about energy content differently from most of the male users of sugar drinks. In both groups' ratings of likelihood of choice and in sugar drink users' estimates of energy content, sweetness and labelled calories were usually treated as separate stimuli or ideas. In contrast, some female diet drink users treated sweetness and perceived calories as the same, whereas no male sugar drink user did. Such findings illustrate how this approach spans the gap between sensory perception and conceptualised knowledge. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-155
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • Personal cognition
  • Diet drinks
  • Conceptual-sensory interaction
  • Discrimination from norm
  • Attitudes to calories
  • Low-calorie sweetener
  • Sugar drinks


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