Remember the last time you were at a death metal show, and that cold brew you were sipping on had a distinctly loud, bitter flavor? Or that time you attended Lilith Fair and found your lager took on notes of female empowerment?
Okay, so I've never had either of these experiences; sometimes at large stadium shows I think my beer tastes bitter, but I'm pretty sure that's because I'm bitter at having paid $12 for it.
According to a recent study, however, the music a person is listening to can affect his or her perception of taste. The study, conducted by scientists at Vrije University in Brussels, Belgium, found that participants who were given the same beer while listening to different kinds of music actually transferred their "experience and feelings about the music to the beer" that they were tasting. Volunteers' ratings of the same beer varied in terms of perception of alcohol by volume, sweetness, bitterness and more.
Said findings support previous research that showed volunteers rated toffee they consumed while listening to piano music as "sweet," while toffee they ate while listening to lower-pitched music were perceived as bitter. And some of the researchers from the beer study are out to investigate similar effects on the taste of chocolate.
Obviously, part of any experiment like this is subjective -- music that sounds sweet to one person's ear might be excruciating to another, which is, after all, how we account for a human like Justin Bieber.