The Ecology of Humans (14) Smell & Taste

Smell & Taste

In mammals, the senses of olfaction (smell) and gustation (taste) converge in the mind-brain to produce a unified experience. Smell predominates the sensory input for tasting. Taste is 80% smell, with other senses contributing to the experience.

Smell is the only sense that bypasses logical neural processing and plugs directly into the mind-brain’s emotional centers. Smell alone is immediate.

Another factor for olfaction dominance comes with the confluence of taste and smell via the retronasal route. Air reaches the smell receptors by 2 routes: the orthonasal route when breathing in, and the retronasal route when breathing out. The mouth takes the credit, but flavor is mostly retronasal smell.

The influences of smell are so profound that simply imagining a smell can affect what you taste. ~ American psychologist Lawrence Rosenblum

One naturally exhales after swallowing. A thin layer of food lingers on the pharyngeal walls. Flavor sampling continues with breathing after a mouthful: aftertaste.