Although sensory adaptation, the gradual loss of sensation during prolonged stimulation, has been demonstrated in laboratory taste experiments, a comparable loss of taste intensity is not experienced in real-life eating situations. This discrepancy may be due to differences in the proximal stimuli or to differences in the ways the taste receptors are stimulated. In two experiments, the effects of four potentially relevant variables were investigated: stimulus intensity, stimulus viscosity, mouth movements, and presentation method. During the initial seconds of stimulation, adaptation to the weakest of the two solutions was faster. Although more viscous stimuli were less sweet, viscosity as such did not affect adaptation rate, nor did mouth movements. Among the three presentation methods, a sucrose-soaked filter paper on the tongue produced more adaptation than either sipping the solution or flowing it over the tongue. This suggests that even mouth movements far more subtle than those still present in the no-movement condition of a sip-and-spit experiment can disrupt the adaptation process.
|Journal||Perception and Psychophysics|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|