Food texture preferences in infants versus toddlers

Brenda Lundy, Tiffany Field, Kirsten Carraway, Sybil Hart, Julie Malphurs, Marla Rosenstein, Martha Pelaez-Nogueras, Frances Coletta, Dana Ott, Maria Hernandez-Reif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated that newborns are capable of preferentially responding to distinct tastes and food-related odors. However, whether infants are also capable of responding to distinct food textures has not been previously investigated. The present research determined whether food texture preferences differ during two developmental periods, infancy and toddlerhood, and whether experience with textures influenced infants' food preferences. In the present research, infants displayed more negative expressions, negative head movements and negative body movements when presented with more complex textures. In contrast, toddlers showed more positive head and body movements and more eagerness for complex textures. The data also suggest that experience with difficult-to-chew textures can facilitate a preference for a more complex texture. The present research adds to our understanding of early perceptual and discriminatory abilities and their development between infancy and early toddlerhood. In addition, the data highlight the need for food texture variation (within the range of the infants' feeding skills) to satisfy the infants' and toddlers' novelty preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


  • Eating behaviors
  • Feeding
  • Food preferences
  • Food texture
  • Infants
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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