Perception

How does your brain know what your food tastes like?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Food contains chemical stimuli that trigger chemoreceptors that tell your brain what you're eating. Smell and taste are reactions to those chemical stimuli and are closely related. Gustatory receptor cells detect taste; there are about 50 of them, along with basal and supporting cells, in each one of your taste buds. Your taste buds are hidden inside those little papillae, or bumps, on your tongue. A taste hair, or gustatory hair, sticks out of each receptor cell and pokes through a little taste pore. When food molecules mix with your saliva, they hit the gustatory hairs and create a taste stimulus. The stimulus triggers a gustatory impulse; the receptor cells then synapse with your neurons and the taste part of your cerebral cortex kicks in to figure out that the electrical impulse is taste.

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