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A Neurobiologist Explains Tastes, Smell, and Flavor

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What does it mean to taste something? How about to smell something? In this Big Think interview, Columbia University neurobiologist Stuart Firestein explains all kinds of complicated sciencey things about how we taste and smell. For example, did you know there's a scientific difference between "taste" and "flavor"?

It turns out flavor is what scientists call a "hedonic" sense, which sounds like a lot more fun than what it actually means: a sense that combines other senses. So flavors are made up of taste (sour, sweet, bitter, salt, and umami), smell, and also perceptions of texture, temperature, and the like.

There's a lot more where that came from below, including why tastes and smells are associated with memories, why things taste good or bad, and why understanding all of this is important.

Video: Big Think Interview With Stuart Firestein

· What Is Taste? [Big Think]
· Big Think Interview With Stuart Firestein [Big Think]