Chilli naysayers: Your inability to stand the all-consuming, eye-watering, when-will-it-end burn of chilli peppers may not be your fault! Well, not entirely..

Scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered that they were able to boost the spiciness of food by up to 10% with the help of specific soundtracks that feature fast beats, distorted notes and high-pitched sounds such as , describing the term as 'sonic seasoning'.

The group of 180 volunteers ate an ancho chilli butternut squash dish with spicy sauce while listening to a series of short clips of music, white noise or silence. Shrill violin concerto or speedy samba music were the most effective heat-boosters, both sounds reminiscent of traditional Indian music. Those listening to faster, more high-pitched sounds rated the dishes as spicier than those listening to silence or white noise.

A psychologist at the university who was also an author of the study explained, "We hypothesise this is because the spicy soundtrack primes people's expectation of spiciness in the food. "We are not sure whether it's exposure to this type of music that makes people associate spiciness with high pitch and distortion.

"Another idea is that high pitch, high distortion, and fast tempo are associated with high energy, and that reflects the sensation of eating spicy foods."

Music makes spicy food feel 10% spicier