MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: What is the relationship between taste and vision ?

Date: Mon May 3 12:21:46 1999
Posted By: Tom Stickel, Grad student, Optometry, Indiana University School of Optometry
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 925106335.Gb

   Taste is a complicated thing, and it's affected by a lot of other things.  Vision is definitely an 
important one.  Imagine a big lump of spinach sitting on your plastic tray in the school cafeteria.
Now imagine that same spinach in a nice little ball sitting on your plate in a fancy restaurant.  The
one that looks better is probably going to taste a little better.
  Also, what you expect a something to taste like can definitely affect what you think it is.  And what
you expect something to taste like depends on its texture, smell, and of course, what it looks like.
So by blindfolding people, you might get them to confuse things that have similar textures (two
carbonated things, for instance) and somewhat similar tastes.
  Now, smell is much more important to taste than vision.  If you plug up a person's nose, you can
really cause them some confusion.  Try plugging up someone's nose, then try to get them to tell
the difference between a sliver of potato and a sliver of apple.  They look the same and they feel 
the same.  It's like trying to taste something when you have a bad cold.
  So good luck on your science project.  I think some people will definitely confuse some of the drinks.
And remember, all the taste tests you see on TV are "blind taste tests," so that shows that there 
could be a relationship.


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