Science Questions

Why do tastes change, so we like things we previously abhorred?

Sun, 7th Oct 2012

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Question

Peka Oilinky, via Facebook asked:

How do we learn to like new taste and smells? I used to hate the king of the fruits, a durian. But after a few years of learning how it smells and tastes, itís just incredibly good. So please get some durian in the studio.

Answer

Barry::  I think itís banned to have it indoors.  This is a very, very stinky fruit, Durianbut of course, once you put it in your mouth as we talked about earlier, the taste is actually very nice because the brain is handling the aroma coming up from the mouth to the nose differently and projecting to a slightly different cortical regions than it does when you smell it from the outside.  Now of course, what the brain does is it learns.  There's an association between the prediction of that lovely reward of flavour and eventually, tunes out to find it so disgusting to smell this funny smell.  Itís leading you to the right thing, but you're going to get the right reward.

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