Food Matters: Tongue Map

Tongue Map Beginning in the 1940s, images of the tongue map featuring four distinct tastes popped up in grade-school science classes, psychology textbooks, and wine-tasting notes, resulting in some head-scratching for those who’d noticed that the sensation of saltiness wasn’t limited to the tip of their tongues or sweet to the back. Several years ago, taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk set the record straight with her findings that show that all tastes are perceived on all areas of the tongue, and what’s more, taste is also sensed in other areas of the mouth, including the margin between the hard and soft palate and the throat. Still, the myth persists. Further debunking the map, it is now widely accepted that there is at least one more taste, umami, the pleasant savory taste provided by glutamic acid and alanine, and experts believe more taste discoveries are surely on the horizon.

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