How Smell Affects Taste

The purpose of this project is to experiment if smell affects taste. In the hypothesis it is stated that when the nose is plugged the taste of a jellybean will be affected. It is also hypothesized that when a subject is given a certain flavor of jellybean to taste they will remember the taste of the same flavored jellybean with the smell impaired. A brief overview of the experiment is as follows. Eight subjects will be tested for their sense of taste. They were given four different flavors of jellybeans to taste twice, once with a nose plug and once without. Group one was asked to taste the first flavor of a jellybean with the nose plugged first.
Then they were given the same flavor of jellybean to taste without the nose plug. The same procedure was used with the remaining three flavors. In contrast, group two was given the jellybean to taste without the nose plug first and with the nose plug second. The four flavors of the jellybeans were tasted in this order: marshmallow, lemon, pear, licorice. The results for each independent variable are as follows. The nose plug did affect the taste of the jellybean. But, group two did not remember the taste of the jellybean when the nose was unplugged. In both groups, taste was affected and flavors were not easily guessed. Scriptural Reference

Taste “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. ” Psalm 34:8 (NIV) I chose this Bible verse because it is very important that as Christians we actively seek God in all things. Even though we really do not “taste” God, we need to thirst for His Word and love. In return, we will see that He is good, we receive His blessing, and find that He is our refuge. Smell “The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. Genesis 8:21 (NIV) God uses His senses like we do. He created us in His own image and made us to have senses. God finds obedience to be pleasant just as we think the smell of red roses is pleasant to our nose.
The human body was created by God to have five different detected senses: taste, smell, hearing, touch, and sight. Taste and smell are the two senses that people have to help us enjoy food. They are separate, but also related. Much can be learned about the correlation between taste and smell and how they affect each other. Taste is the sense that comes from food molecules touching the taste buds on the tongue.
The taste buds send signals to the brain which then translates the signals into a taste. Taste buds are nerve receptors on the tongue and palate. Different parts of the tongue have specific receptors for different types of tastes. There are thousands of taste buds on the tongue, each with a surface opening called a taste pore. At the base, microvilli sensors pick up the molecule. The molecule gets changed by sensory cells of the taste bud into a nerve impulse. The signal gets sent to the brain through the glossopharyngeal nerve to the brainstem, then to the thalamus, and on to the forebrain. That signal is translated to specific taste (Swindle, Mark). On the tongue, different tastes are picked up on different parts of the tongue. First, the sweet taste buds occur on the outside part of the tongue. A second kind is salty taste buds that are located on the back outside portion of the tongue. Lastly, the bitter taste buds are located in the far back of the tongue. There are some taste buds on the palate that pick up different tastes (Smith, David). Smell, on the other hand, is the sense that comes from odor molecules attaching to the olfactory nerve. Air carries the odor into the nose. Then odor contacts the olfactory nerves at the top of the nasal passages.
The the olfactory nerves send a signal to the olfactory bulb of the brain, and the nerve sends a signal to the front of the brain. The forebrain translates the signals of the odor into a specific smell (Swindle, Mark). Smell and taste are so interrelated that many scientists think that taste is about 80% of aroma and 20% actual taste (American Academy of Otolaryngology). It changes as people age, the sense of smell seems to be better in adults than in kids. Usually at age 60 or over, adults may start to lose their sense of smell. Scientists have proven that women have a better sense of smell than men.
People who have head injuries often lose their sense of smell and lose weight because the taste of the food they eat has been impaired through the injury. Also, people with sinus problems or upper respiratory problems lose weight because of a decreased sense of smell and appetite (American Academy of Otolaryngology). In previous studies, Frank and Byram’s article suggest that taste and smell interactions are dependent on taste and odor. In their experiments, they gave subjects strawberry whipped cream while pinching their nose and then strawberry cream not pinching their nose.
The addition of smell to taste made the strawberry whip cream seem 85% sweeter. The same experiment was used, but with peanut butter flavored whip cream. It was found that peanut butter odor did not enhance sweetness. They then evaluated the same people with salted strawberry whip cream, and found that the odor did not increase the sweetness. This suggested that sweetness is both taste and odor dependent. The experiment with salted strawberry whip cream proves that the sense of smell is a dependent factor in a person experiencing the full sense of taste (Frank, Robert).
When the nose is plugged and the olfactory system is impaired, taste will be affected. Each of the eight subjects will be tested on four different flavors of jellybean, once with the nose plugged and once with the nose unplugged. The four flavors tested in order were: marshmallow, lemon, pear, and licorice. People in group one will have a nose plug on during the first taste. They will be impaired to taste and guess the flavor of the jelly bean. At the second attempt to taste without the nose plug, they will be able to taste easily and be able to guess the flavor of the jellybean. Group two, will start by not having the nose plugged.
This group will be able to taste easily and easily guess the flavor of the jellybean. When the plug is then placed on the subject’s nose, they will be able to taste because they already know the real taste from memory.
Materials List

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Log Book
Jelly Beans
2 Marshmallow, 2 Lemon, 2 Pear, 2 Licorice flavored jellybeans
Towel as blindfold
Eight Test Subjects
Nose Plug

To set up this experiment, eight human subjects were needed for evaluation. Each person was tested for their sense of taste and smell. The subjects were split into two evaluation groups.
The first group was given a blindfold and a nose plug. They were given a jellybean to taste. They were asked the following questions: What flavor do you think this is? Is it sweet, sour, or bitter? After the tester recorded the data, the subjects were asked to remove the nose plug. They were given the same flavor of jellybean and asked the same questions. This same procedure was used for the remaining three flavors of jellybeans. The data was recorded and the results compared. The second group was given a blind fold, but asked to taste the jellybean without the nose plug first. They were asked the same questions as group one.
Data was recorded. Then they were given the nose plug and asked to taste and evaluate the same flavor of jellybean. This same procedure was used for the remaining three flavors of jellybeans. Data again was recorded and results compared. The four different types of jelly beans given were in this order; marshmallow, lemon, pear, and licorice.
The results for each independent variable are as follows: Number of right guesses of jellybean flavor without nose plug= 13 out of 32.
Number of right guesses of jellybean flavor with nose plug= 3 out of 32. Number of right guesses of jellybean flavor with nose plug after already tasting jellybean without nose plug= 1 out of 16. The first part of the hypothesis stated that impairing the sense of smell with a nose plug would affect the taste of the jellybeans. Almost half of the flavors were guessed when given without smell impairment compared to three flavors guessed when smell was impaired. This supports the hypothesis that when smell is impaired taste is affected. The nose plug did affect the taste of the jellybeans.
The hypothesis also stated that the subjects would remember the actual taste of the jellybean by memory when first given a certain flavor with no smell impairment and then given the same flavor with impairment of smell. Only 1 out of 16 guesses were accurate. Therefore, group two did not remember the taste of the same flavored jellybean when given the nose plug. In conclusion, the hypothesis was partially supported.
Works Cited

American Academy of Otolaryngology. “How do Taste and Smell work? ” http://www. etnet. orgHealthInformation/smellTaste. crm 2010.
Frank, Robert. “Taste–smell Interactions Are Talent and Odorant Dependent — Chem. Senses. ” Oxford Journals | Life Sciences & Medicine | Chemical Senses. Web. 7 Dec. 2010. <http://chemse. oxfordjournals. org/content/13/3/445. short>.
Smith, David V. “How Taste Works. ” World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. T. 2006.
Swindle, Mark. “How Odors Are Detected. ” World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. Smell. 2000.
Swindle, Mark. “Structures Important In Smell. ” World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. Smell. 2000.

I would like to thank God for making the human body so interesting and wonderful. Also, I would like to thanks my teachers and parents for helping.


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