Perceptual Development: Taste and Olfaction

Unlike senses such as vision and audition, where information is transmitted through light and sound waves, our senses of smell and taste are mediated by molecules that stimulate receptors throughout the nasal and oral cavities, respectively. As a result, smell and taste are commonly referred to as chemical senses, and in combination with other inputs, such as texture and temperature, are responsible for determining the flavor of the foods and beverages we ingest. Our ability to perceive and integrate these sensory stimuli plays an essential role in determining our food consumption by attracting us to potential food items and warning us of the presence of potentially harmful substances. Presumably due to their adaptive value, these perceptual systems are functional at birth. However, despite their early ...

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