Ever noticed your mood change the minute you’re hungry or when you’ve just eaten? Sometimes these changes are s subtle that we don’t realise they’ve happened until after. For example, your maybe angry or frustrated for no fathomable reason, but that changes the minute you have a quick snack. We’ve all had it happen to us at some point or the other. Now, the scientists at Oxford University have developed a new app which monitors facial expressions to assess mood and then suggests the perfect food to lift or the spirits, or quell anxiety! Professor Charles Spence, an experimental scientist, has teamed up with food delivery service ‘Just Eat’ to launch new ‘mood mapping’ technology which is being trialled for the first time.
According to Professor Spence, face mapping can provide an accurate and objective assessment of a person’s emotional state easier than they can. The new app will follow face mapping procedures by scanning the face for signs of emotios, such as frown lines, upturned lips and eyes, and thus can often pick up on hidden feelings that a person may be ignoring.
Emotion And Food: The Relationship
“Often people are not able to say how they are feeling or just don’t feel they want to. After all, we might know that we are in a bad mood, but not know why. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that your mood has a significant impact on your taste and smell – it can deaden or liven the effect of both – a reverse of this is also believed to be true, that food can have a number of affects on your mood”, said Proferssor Spence.
Having worked with Heston Blumenthal and the former El Bulli chef Ferran Adrià on involving the other senses in the pursuit of taste and currently running the University of Oxford’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Professor Spence has spent a lot of time researching mood, emotion and taste.
He said that mood and emotion can affect the ‘sensory discriminatory aspects of tasting’ which is why people often stop eating following a relationship break-up or when they are grieving because food simply does not taste as good as during happier times.
More About The App
Not only do our moods affect the foods we choose to eat, but the foods we eat can in turn help us to feel happier, energised, relaxed, focused or fired up and ready for the day. It’s important to recognise the relationship between the foods we eat and our moods so that we can ensure that we’re looking after not only our physical, but also our emotional wellbeing.
The app can detect a range of emotions icluding anger, disgust, fear, surprise, sadness and joy. After detecting an emotion, the app makes menu suggestions according to what it finds. For example, an angry face suggests that a person is stressed and so would benefit from calming foods, such as dark chocolate and nuts which contain magnesium. In contrast, people who are excited may benefit from blood sugar regulating foods such as whole grains and legumes.