March 30, 2015
Professor Chandler, Taleshia L.
Have you ever stepped into a room that is saturated with the sweet smell of the most delicious desserts? One can only imagine biting into one of the pieces of pie and have it taste just like heaven. Odds are, the food that you are smelling would probably taste just as good as it smells. However, can you imagine biting into this perfect pie that smells so wonderfully delicious only to have your taste buds become disappointed? It could easily work the other way around, a pie that appears mediocre with hardly any smell to it, yet once you have taken a bite, it is just like heaven! Both the sense of smell and taste greatly influences one another. Hence the reason why when someone has a cold, one can barely taste the food at all. Aside from utilizing one’s nose for their own smelling pleasure, according to Dowdey (2015), “Smell is often our first response to stimuli. It alerts us to fire before we see flames. It makes us recoil before we taste rotten food” (para. 1). The sense of smell is also called olfactory. It is a chemical sense identified by chemoreceptors. Chemoreceptors is a sensory cell. When chemoreceptors are stimulated by odorant through the nose, electrical impulses is passed on to the brain. The brain subsequently construe the patterns in the electrical activity in place of particular odors. Once this occurs then the olfactory sensation converts into a perception (Dowdey, 2015). Just like the sense of smell, the sense of taste is a chemical sense. Quite often, the sense of smell and taste are linked together. It is also called gustation. When molecules, either liquid or soild form enter the mouth and stimulate taste receptors, it is called taste (Godlstein, 2015). As mentioned earlier, the sense of smell is one of our first response to stimuli and protector. Just like the sense of smell, the sense of taste also plays a vital part in keeping one safe. According to Goldstein (2015), “Taste and olfaction can be thought of as “gate keepers” (p. 364). The reason for this is because one’s sense of taste assist on determining what should be consumed as well as avoided. This is done so through the connection between taste quality and a substance’s effect. Although, the sense of taste and smell are separate senses with their very own receptor organs, they are very much connected. As stated previously, a good example is the fact that food does not taste like much when one is currently suffering a cold. When an individual’s nose is congested and momentarily weaken, the mixture of taste and smell or the flavor of food is also compromised. When the nose is congested, the ability to smell or detect food odors is diminished. The sense of taste is busy trying to figure out which chemicals are sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami which is savory in Japanese (“Brainfacts.org”, 2015). To no surprise, the sweet compounds is automatically accepted which also triggers an anticipatory metabolic response that initiates the gastrointestinal system for processing these substances. Bitter compounds do just the opposite from the sweet compounds. It instead triggers the automatic rejection responses in order to avoid harmful substances to the organism. Salty tastes indicates that sodium is present. When people sweat, they also lose a large amount of sodium. When this occurs, the body craves for salty foods to replace the sodium that is lost. When both taste and smell are combined, one’s perception of food is heightened. In order to make a meal taste better, I would change texture. There are several people whom are unable to eat certain foods due to its texture. I find texture to be appealing. Aside from the taste, it gives food character and satisfies my mouth when chewing different types of consistencies. To emphasize the connection between the chemical senses, emotional memories, and the brain the sensory specific satiety must be present. During the Proust effect, individuals either have a more satisfaction or dissatisfaction to a taste due to a memory. Taste and olfaction has the ability to unlock memories according to Proust. According to Goldstein (2015), in regards to odor-elicited memory, there is a correlation from structures that involved in both taste and olfaction to the amygdala which is a connected to emotional behavior, along with other structures such as the hippocampus, which is a part of storing memories. In conclusion, in order to take full advantage of eating a delicious meal, one must be healthy. Meaning, one is not congested due to the flu or common cold. Therefore, both the sense of taste and smell has the ability to do their part in order to enhance the flavor of food. Another way to take advantage of a delicious meal is to eat meals that allows one to utilize the Proust effect. For instance, eating Christmas or thanksgiving dinner is always much more joyous due to the fact that majority of the time, it reminds people of spending time with family and opening gifts. It brings people back to a “happy place”. The sense of smell and taste is not primarily just for eating however they also play a vital role in protecting oneself. One can smell fire from a distance and determine when food is bad just by smelling it. The sense of taste has the ability to detect chemicals which triggers the reflex to avoid or prohibit one from further allowing the substance in one’s mouth.
Brainfacts.org. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.brainfacts.org/sensing-thinking-behaving/senses-and-perception/articles/2012/taste-and-smell/ Dowdey, S. (2015). How Stuff Works. Retrieved from http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/perception/smell.htm Goldstein, E. B. (2014). Sensation and Perception (9th ed.). : Cengage Learning.