Multisensory evaluation and the neophobic food response

Claire Farrow, Helen Coulthard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Neophobia or the “fear of new foods” is a common developmental response that most children demonstrate at some point; however, there is also considerable variability between children in the expression of neophobic behaviors. The extent of sensory sensitivity that different children express is one factor that may predict the degree of food neophobia. In this chapter we review the role of sensory sensitivity in pediatric eating behavior and present evidence that has linked olfactory, visual, taste, and texture sensitivity to food refusal, food fussiness, and neophobia in children. We then evaluate the effectiveness of interventions that have been developed to tackle food fussiness and neophobia through using nontaste activities that allow multisensory exploration. We discuss the concept of a new decision-making model for neophobia and ideas for further research and interventions to reduce sensory related food refusal in children.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Neophobia
Subtitle of host publicationBehavioral and Biological Influences
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780081019313
ISBN (Print)9780081019320
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Child
  • Food fussiness
  • Interventions
  • Messy play
  • Neophobia
  • Sensory sensitivity


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