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We’re all taught that we have 5 senses:
视觉 听觉 触觉 嗅觉和味觉
sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
And you also learn
that smell and taste are really two sides of the same coin,
which is why your food becomes super bland if your nose is stuffed up.
Your sense of taste doesn’t just rely on your tongue and nose.
Everything about the experience of eating or drinking,
from the dishes to the background noise,
can affect the flavors of your food.
因为 实际上 你并不是用舌头尝味
Because, really, you taste things not with your tongue,
but with your brain.
The idea that flavor is basically all in your head
is what scientists call neurogastronomy.
Your tongue and nose have receptors
that detect flavorful chemicals
and send signals to your brain.
But what you taste ultimately
depends on how those signals get interpreted.
Some scientists even claim that
more brain systems are involved in tasting than anything else you do.
Like, you need the regions that control senses, memory,
and even the muscles that get food into your mouth.
On top of all that,
your brain is constantly trying to find patterns in the world,
to help you make quicker, better decisions.
And that means you can hack your sense of taste
by changing things that have nothing to do with your taste buds.
For one thing, what your food looks like matters.
Before you take a swig of wine, you see its color.
And you might know or remember
that deeper reds tend to be more bitter,
while whites are usually sweeter and fruitier.
So even before you smell or taste anything,
you expect your wine to taste a certain way.
And scientists have found that expectation can change the flavor your brain perceives.
If a white wine is dyed red with food coloring,
你可能认为它闻起来 尝起来更像是红葡萄酒 而不是夏敦埃酒
you might think it smells and tastes more like a cabernet than a chardonnay.
Or if you taste a mystery green juice,
you might guess it ’ s apple or lime,
even if it’s actually cherry-flavored.
In a 2014 study, researchers even found that
changing the lighting in a room can affect how intense a wine tastes.
For instance, green mood lighting made the wine taste fresher.
So it’ s no wonder why companies use artificial colorings in their foods.
Your sense of touch plays a role in this, too.
That’s partially because of what gastronomists call mouthfeel the way your mouth feels
while you’ re eating something and shortly after.
It’s surprisingly difficult to identifypureed foods,
For instance.In blind taste tests of mush,
some foods like apples were easier to pick out.
But others—even lamb or cabbage,
which are thought to have more distinct tastes—
were correctly IDed less than 5% of the time.
You can also be influenced by sensation transference,
where you take the qualities of other things you feel
and ascribe them to your food.
So everything about your dishware,
from its color and shape to its material and texture,
can alter the flavors you perceive.
Heavier things are associated with higher quality, for instance.
So when psychologists added hidden weights to serving bowls or spoons,
people thought yogurt tasted better.
Researchers in a 2010 study even
found they could make stale pretzels taste crispier
just by having a participant hold a fresh pretzel in their hand while eating.
Even what you hear can influence flavor,
possibly because of neuronal cross talk
between your senses of hearing and taste,
or because music can affect your mood.
Psychologists have found that
certain styles of music or instruments seem to go with certain tastes—
like in experiments, people have said piano music fits well with fruitier drinks.
And in Implicit Association Tests,
where the speed and accuracy of connecting two things
is used to measure unconscious associations,
higher notes are somehow considered sweeter.
Those associations translate into real flavor differences,
like one study found that changing background music
while you taste a toffee
can make it seem sweeter or more bitter.
Or if you dine at The Fat Duck,
a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the UK,
you can order “The Sound of the Sea”:
an oyster dish served alongside an iPod playing crashing waves.
Chef Heston Blumenthal created the dish
after teaming up with local psychologists who found
that ocean sounds make oysters taste saltier—
although they don’t have an exact explanation for this multi-sensory effect.
Even without music, what you’re feeling can affect flavors.
Like, researchers found that simplythinking about someone you love
can make foods taste sweeter—even distilled water.
That may be because of how things that make you
happy and sweet things both trigger the brain’ s reward system.
And if you’ re upset about something,
like your favorite sports team losing a game,
your food may taste more sour.
Studies have found that increased levels of noradrenaline—
a hormone that is released when you’re stressed—
can enhance sour flavors.
But here’ s where it gets really cerebral,
because this mood-taste connection is a two-way street.
Yeah, different tastes can influence how you feel and act.
举个例子 2014年的一项研究中 研究者们发现
For example, in one 2014 study, researchers found that
people who drank a bitter tea or juice rated themselves as more hostile.
Didn’ t matter if they liked the drink or not
a bitter taste translated to more aggressive feelings.
And in a follow-up experiment,
participants actually took out those aggressive feelings
on their experimenters by rating their performance more negatively.
Similarly, in a 2018 study,
participants from the UK and Vietnam that drank a sour drink
took more risks in a money-making game,
while those that drank sweet or umami ones played it safe.
So all this may seem a little freaky,
but the upside is
that you might be able to use this knowledge to get more from your meals.
Like, maybe serving the right food in the right dishes
during dinner could make things seem a little fancier.
You might as well put the connection between taste and your other senses to good use—
and experimenting with what food you’re eating is part of that too.
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Learning and eating: two of my very favorite things!
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