Which part of your tongue tastes sweet flavor most intensely? You may be familiar with the “tongue map” that supposedly showed which regions of our tongues sense bitter, sour, sweet, and salty tastes most intensely. The existence of taste bud maps was disproved by APS Past President Linda Bartoshuk, a leading taste researcher from the University of Florida who also discovered why “supertasters” experience taste so intensely. For more Bartoshuk’s groundbreaking research, read a summary of her Inside the Psychologist’s Studio interview with Carol Tavris at the APS 22nd Annual Convention, listen to this thirty-minute interview from the National Academy of Sciences, or read this feature from PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers.
In this story from NPR’s Morning Edition Bartoshuk is featured, along with APS Fellow Julie Mennella. Mennella studies taste at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and has discovered that flavors are passed from mothers to infants through amniotic fluid, which means that our food preferences may already be taking shape before we are born. The Monell Chemical Senses Center is the world’s only independent, non-profit institute dedicated to interdisciplinary research on the science of taste behind taste and smell. If you’re interested in pursuing taste research, the Monell Center offers education and training opportunities for students and professional scientists.