Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Differences in Taste Responses between Tongue Regions Public Deposited

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  • Due to a combination of misinterpretation and misleading illustration, the premise of a “tongue map”, which indicated that sweetness could only be detected at the front of the tongue and bitterness could only be detected on the back, became wide spread. In fact, all taste qualities can be detected on the front, back and sides of the tongue. Studies on regional differences within the oral cavity have typically reported differences in taste response depended on taste quality. Most of these studies have had subjects keep their tongue still or mouth open while evaluating samples to prevent the spread of stimuli to other regions of the oral cavity. However, tongue and mouth movements are naturally paired with taste perception in normal eating situations. This intraoral movement can cause stimuli to spread throughout the mouth and may have additional effects on taste perception. Therefore, studying the effects of intraoral tongue and mouth movements may be important to understanding taste perception mechanisms. Notably, some reports have not specified the tasting mode used in their study. In addition, it has been suggested that maltooligosaccharides (MOS) may be detected independently from the classic sweetness receptor, but it is unknown whether regional responsiveness differs between sucrose and MOS. The current study was designed to investigate 1) the effects of taste quality on regional differences in responsiveness between the front and back of the tongue, and 2) the effects of “passive” and “active” tasting modes on relative regional differences in taste responsiveness. Along with the two carbohydrates tested (i.e. sucrose and MOS), quinine and MPG were also included to represent bitter and umami taste qualities, respectively. In the passive tasting condition, the front of the tongue was found to be more responsive to both carbohydrates, but no regional differences were seen for quinine or MPG. In the active tasting condition, the back of the tongue was more responsive to quinine and MPG, but no differences were found for either carbohydrate. These findings indicate that there are regional differences in taste responsiveness between the front and back of the tongue, and that they are dependent on taste quality and modulated by tasting mode. Further, the effects of tasting mode were taste quality dependent only on the back of the tongue. This indicates that interactions between taste and intraoral movements may be different between tongue regions.
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  • Ongoing Research
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  • 2018-06-15 to 2019-07-16



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