Or-eye-os: does vision affect our taste?


Graphic by Regina Payne

Aparna Nidamanuri and Sanchita Teeka

Our advisor, Mrs. Fletcher, brought in a box of orange Halloween Oreos on one fateful Logue editing day when a student said the iconic words: “I think these taste different than the regulars.” Thus, the debate began: are Oreos differently flavored, or is that just something we conjure up in our heads? We decided to conduct our own experiment to test it out.

Our goal was to test two series of Oreos: One experiment was to test reactions to five different flavors, and the second experiment was to test regular Oreos versus Double Stuf Oreos. Both experiments had two trials: blindfolded and non-blindfolded.
First, we tested the placebo of 5 different Oreos by allowing 32 people to try them while seeing the Oreos. Then we had 32 people test them while being blindfolded to see if the colors of the Oreos play a large factor in determining its taste or if they genuinely taste like what they are supposed to, and our skepticism was warranted.

At the end of the first experiment, the results were relatively inconclusive, with only 2 out of 5 tests truly proving our hypothesis correct, in which people who couldn’t absorb the Oreos visuals, such as the color of cookies, cream, and size, were less likely to guess it’s flavor correctly. We needed to be sure, so we decided to go ahead and conduct another experiment.

In this next experiment, we had 46 participants try the regular Oreos and the double stuff. Again, half of the participants were blindfolded while the other half were not.

Ultimately, we concluded that being able to see the Oreos itself greatly influences what flavor the participants thought the cookie had. Though there parts of our first test that supported our hypothesis, the second test truly emphasized this point. Even though the cookies were different, they were thought to be the same. The impact vision has on our thoughts is remarkable, and this shows us that in our lives, we shouldn’t take things at face value. Like Selena Gomez once famously said, everything is not as it seems.