Food for Thought

Linda BartoshukAsk 10 people how a certain food tastes and most likely, you will get 10 different answers. The science of taste is the focus of Linda Bartoshuk’s research, including how individuals vary in their genetic ability to taste. In addition to conducting basic taste research, Bartoshuk works with patient populations, studying taste and oral pain disorders. Bartoshuk’s lab discovered supertasters, individuals who perceive very intense tastes (they have more taste buds than most people). Due to their strong taste experiences, supertasters tend to avoid a number of foods (e.g., bitter vegetables); this can affect health risks. Recently, she has been interested in accurately comparing the intensities of sensory and pleasurable experiences across individuals/groups, via magnitude-matching experiments. Conventional methods often lead to incorrect comparisons that can have serious clinical consequences (e.g., failures to see important differences in pain intensities between women and men). Bartoshuk is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and a a recipient of a special 25th anniversary APS William James Fellow Award for her significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology.. She is currently in the University of Florida (Gainesville) College of Dentistry.


Watch Inside The Psychologist’s Studio with Linda Bartoshuk.