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Why do you need to be able to smell in order to taste?

  1. Apr 28, 2005 #1
    I always wondered, why you have to be able to smell in order taste anything. Right now my sinuses are so clogged up from allergies, I can not taste one single thing. Why is this?
     
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  3. Apr 28, 2005 #2

    JamesU

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    I heard that 90% of taste is smell. If you smell something and then taste it you'll find they give off the same essence. :smile:
     
  4. Apr 28, 2005 #3
    probably your nerve endings are connects...look up olfactory senses
     
  5. Apr 28, 2005 #4
    Because you do not really taste anything, you smell it.

    You can only taste things like, sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami.

    Our taste is not better than needed to make sure we eat good food. Same for smell. It isn't there for our enjoyment in the first place.
     
  6. Apr 29, 2005 #5

    Monique

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    As Daevren said, we only have a few very basic taste receptors on our tongue. The nose is a very specialized organ and can discriminate many more different molecules.
     
  7. Apr 29, 2005 #6
    I guess it also depends on what you are going to taste or smell, and all of those flavors can be smelt if their concentrations are really high i.e an extremely hot and extremely sweet soup which you don't need to taste in actuality, or a sour yogurt doesn't need you to taste whereas you still realize it is sour....
     
  8. Apr 29, 2005 #7
    This is true. When I have to drink terrible health drink (or shot glasses hehe) I hold my nose..If you dont smell it you dont tase it.

    So why is it a sense?
     
  9. Apr 29, 2005 #8

    Monique

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    Why is it a sense? You have got receptors that recognize certain molecules and transform the input into an electrical signal that is transferred to the brain. Maybe someone could look up exactly how olfactory senses work.
     
  10. Apr 30, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    Interestingly, even olfactory receptors are somewhat limited in the number of chemicals they recognize. There is a lot of processing in the brain that isn't well understood. (Did you know this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine went to folks studying olfaction?) There is a lot of context-dependent processing, so I would hazard the guess that the combination of smell and taste provides more information about the food than either alone in order to sort the identity of the food.
     
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