Document Detail

Tactile interaction with taste localization: influence of gustatory quality and intensity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17962229     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Taste is always accompanied by tactile stimulation, but little is known about how touch interacts with taste. One exception is evidence that taste can be "referred" to nearby tactile stimulation. It was recently found (Lim J, and Green BG. 2007. The psychophysical relationship between bitter taste and burning sensation: evidence of qualitative similarity. Chem Senses. 32:31-39) that spatial discrimination of taste was poorer for bitterness than for other tastes when the perceived intensities were matched. We hypothesized that this difference may have been caused by greater referral of bitterness by touch. The present study tested this hypothesis by comparing localization of quinine sulfate and sucrose under conditions that minimized and maximized the opportunity for referral. In both conditions, stimulation was produced by 5 cotton swabs spaced 1 cm apart and arranged in an arc to enable simultaneous contact with the front edge of the tongue. Only one swab contained the taste stimulus, whereas the rest were saturated with deionized water. In both conditions, the swabs were stroked up-and-down against the tongue 5 times. Subjects were asked to identify which swab contained the taste stimulus 1) 5 s after the fifth stroke (touch-removed condition) and 2) immediately at the end of the fifth stroke, with the swabs still in contact with the tongue (touch-maintained condition). Ratings of taste intensity were obtained to assess the possible effect of perceived intensity on spatial localization. Taste localization was surprisingly accurate, especially for sucrose, with errors of localization in the range of 1 cm or less. For both stimuli, localization tended to be poorer when the tactile stimulus was present while subjects made their judgments, but the difference between conditions was significant only for the lower concentration of quinine. The results are discussed in terms of both the surprisingly good spatial acuity of taste and the possibility of having a close perceptual relationship between touch and bitter taste.
Juyun Lim; Barry G Green
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2007-10-24
Journal Detail:
Title:  Chemical senses     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0379-864X     ISO Abbreviation:  Chem. Senses     Publication Date:  2008 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-02-14     Completed Date:  2008-05-01     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8217190     Medline TA:  Chem Senses     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  137-43     Citation Subset:  IM    
Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Taste / physiology*
Taste Buds / physiology
Tongue / physiology
Touch / physiology*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
130-95-0/Quinine; 57-50-1/Sucrose

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