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Assessment of lingual tactile sensitivity in children and adults: methodological suitability and challenges

Appiani, M., Rabitti, N. S., Methven, L., Cattaneo, C. ORCID: and Laureati, M. (2020) Assessment of lingual tactile sensitivity in children and adults: methodological suitability and challenges. Foods, 9 (11). 1594. ISSN 2304-8158

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/foods9111594


Few methodological approaches have been developed to measure lingual tactile sensitivity, and little information exists about the comparison between children and adults. The aims of the study were to: verify the cognitive and perceptive suitability of Von Frey filaments and a gratings orientation test in children of different ages; compare lingual tactile sensitivity between children and adults; investigate the relationships between lingual tactile sensitivity, preference and consumption of foods with different textures and level of food neophobia. One hundred and forty-seven children aged 6–13 years and their parents participated in the study, in addition to a separate sample of seventy adults. Participants filled in questionnaires, and lingual tactile sensitivity was evaluated through filaments and gratings. Results showed that gratings evaluation was more difficult than filaments assessment but enabled a better separation of participants according to their performance than filaments. R-indices from filaments were not correlated with those of gratings, suggesting that the tools measure different dimensions of lingual tactile sensitivity. No differences were found in lingual tactile sensitivity between children and adults, nor between children of different ages. Food neophobia was negatively associated with preferences of hard foods in children. Although a multifactor analysis concluded that neither texture preferences nor food consumption were strongly correlated with lingual tactile sensitivity, there was a weak but significant positive correlation between lingual tactile sensitivity to the finest Von Frey filament and food neophobia in the youngest age group, indicating that children with higher levels of food neophobia are more sensitive to oral tactile stimuli. Suitable child-friendly adaptations for the assessment of lingual sensitivity in children are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:93943


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