USF study says music can play a role in food selection

The foods you choose may not have much to do with what you see, but what you hear.

"Music affects our excitement level and our relaxation level which in turn affects our food choices," University of South Florida marketing professor Dr. Dipayan Biswas explained.

Dr. Dipayan conducted research on how music might affect food selections at restaurants and supermarkets.

He found certain kinds of music can have an impact on what foods we choose.

Louder music could steer you towards heavier foods.

"Loud-volume music agitates our physiological system so it makes us more excited, so it makes our bodies more excited, higher state of arousal, so higher excitement. Higher arousal makes us choose more indulgent foods," said Dr. Biswas.

Lighter music may mean lighter food choices.

"Low volume music makes us more relaxed so that makes us go for more mindful choices and different choices," said Dr. Biswas.

He said the same is true in the grocery stores.

"If they want to push more of the vegetables and foods at the supermarket, they are playing the low volume music. But if for some reason they want to push more of the red meat, they are amping up the volume," said Dr. Biswas.

But he added that the volume of music may not affect everyone the same way.  

"If you're somebody who always orders salads or if you're someone who always orders pizza it doesn't matter, it doesn't make a difference," said Dr. Biswas.

So the next time you go out to eat, you may be listening to more than just your stomach.

"Retailers and restaurant owners can influence our choice behavior just by changing the volume level," said Dr. Biswas.