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How Does The Smell Affect The Taste?

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Doseon Kim

on 25 November 2014

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Transcript of How Does The Smell Affect The Taste?

Background Research
Although the sense of smell and taste are completely different senses, their jobs helps and complement each other.
The sense of smell works because of cells called olfactory cells. When an odor is present, these olfactory cells located everywhere on the nose, takes in the odor. Then the cells sends nerves to the brain letting it know smelling is occurring.
The sense of taste works because of taste buds. However on taste buds, there are cells called gustatory cells. It does practically the same job as olfactory cells, however reacts the flavor or food instead. Then like expected, they send nerves to the brain letting it know that tasting is occurring.

If I decrease of cut off the sense of smell, then I think the taste accuracy will also decrease. This is due to olfactory cells reacting to odor molecules. Olfactory cells cannot react when there's no action such as breathing or sniffing. The taste will be most likely not as strong as with the sense of smell.
How does the smell affect the taste?
Controlled- Tasting with the sense of smell.

Independent- Taste without the sense of smell.

Dependent- The percent food guessed correctly identified.
-Assortments of foods(10 common foods)(2 of each main flavors) $30 Total
Sweet: -Chocolate -Banana
Salty: -Popcorn -Pretzels
Sour: -Lemon -Kiwi
Bitter: -Grapefruit -Broccoli
Spicy: -Onion -Peppers

(For each volunteer)
1) Blindfold volunteer and tell them to plug their noses.
2) Give a tablespoon of the pieces of food to the volunteer in a random order.
3) Tell them to guess what they think it is, and quickly, and if not then say no.
4) Record scores
5) Do the same process as 1-4, but this time without their nose plugged.

My orginal purpose of the experiment was to find out how the smell affects the taste. My hypothesis for this was that if I decreased or cut off the sense of smell, then the taste accuracy will also decrease. Throughout the experiment, it proved my hypothesis to be correct, and that the data that I have collected supports my hypothesis and what I thought.
How Does The Smell Affect The Taste?
By Doseon Kim

My purpose of the project is to find out whether the sense of smell affects what we're tasting.
How are they connected?
While eating, odor molecules float all around the nose outside, inside, and inside the mouth too. When food is inside the mouth, gustatory cells reacts it, and at the same time, olfactory cells reacts to the odors. Olfactory cells only reacts when you sniff, or even breath. Odor molecules reaches the nose from outside and inside. Near the back of the mouth, the mouth is connected to your nose. The odor molecules can go into the nose this way too.

This process while eating practically is "eating with your nose." When the two senses are used at the same time, this makes what we're tasting a lot stronger, because the nose, and the mouth are both aware of the flavor.

Key Words
Olfactory cells- Cells that reacts to odors when sniffing or breathing, which sends nerves to the brain allowing us to smell.
Gustatory cells- Cells that reacts to food or flavor. Sends nerves to the brain letting us to taste.
Safety Precautions
-No surprises
-Adult supervision for cutting foods to small pieces
-The volunteers took some time to guess without their sense of smell.
-Their reactions of the food without their sense of smell was more "dramatic" then with their sense of smell. (ex. less reaction when eating lemon)
-Their guesses were around the actual food without their sense of smell.
-More aged people guessed more correctly without their senses compared to teens.
-They said it was hard to taste what it was, so they tried using the texture of the food.
Number Correct
Number Incorrect
Number Correct
Number Incorrect
The data that I collected shows that without the sense of smell, the taste acuracy does decrease, which the difference was quite obvious. Without the sense of smell, out of all 5 volunteers, there were in total only 14 correctly guessed, and 36 incorrect. Comapred to that, there were 44 correctly guessed, and 6 incorrect with the sense of smell. This shows how much the sense of smell helps taste things better. From the tables, it was shown that there was a major difference between using the sense of smell, and without it.

Backing up with my observations, it took longer for the volunteers to guess the food without the sense of smell. However opposingly, with the sense of smell, the volunteers gussed quickly and correctly. Overall, the sense of smell helped volunteers effectively.
I researched that when you're eating, there are odor molecules of the specific food(pizza odor for pizza)that float around inside the mouth. The odor molecules reaches the nose, letting us "smell what we're tasting." My experiment involved in cutting off the sense of smell, which resulted in a decrease of taste accuracy. My research explained how the sense of smell strengthens the taste, because of how olfactory cells works together with gustatory cells. So, it would make sense that when I cut off their sense of smell, that it was harder for them the taste what was in their mouths.
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