Aftertaste - Temporal Taste Perception

Temporal Taste Perception

Characteristics of a food’s aftertaste are quality, intensity, and duration. Quality describes the actual taste of a food and intensity conveys the magnitude of that taste. Duration describes how long a food’s aftertaste sensation lasts. Foods that have lingering aftertastes typically have long sensation durations.

Because taste perception is unique to every person, descriptors for taste quality and intensity have been standardized, particularly for use in scientific studies. For taste quality, foods can be described by the commonly used terms ‘‘sweet’’, ‘‘sour’’, ‘‘salty’’, ‘‘bitter’’, "umami", or “no taste”. Description of aftertaste perception relies heavily upon the use of these words to convey the taste that is being sensed after a food has been removed from the mouth.

The description of taste intensity is also subject to variability among individuals. Variations of the Borg Category Ratio Scale or other similar metrics are oftentimes used to assess the intensities of foods. The scales typically have categories that range from either zero or one through ten (or sometimes beyond ten) that describe the taste intensity of a food. A score of zero or one would correspond to unnoticeable or weak taste intensities, while a higher score would correspond to moderate or strong taste intensities. It is the prolonged moderate or strong taste intensities that persist even after a food is no longer present in the mouth that describe aftertaste sensation.

Foods that have distinct aftertastes are distinguished by their temporal profiles, or how long their tastes are perceived during and after consumption. A sample testing procedure to measure a food’s temporal profile would entail first recording the time of onset for initial taste perception when the food is consumed, and then recording the time at which no there is no longer any perceived taste. The difference between these two values yields the total time of taste perception. Match this with intensity assessments over the same time interval and a representation of the food’s taste intensity over time can be obtained. With respect to aftertaste, this type of testing would have to measure the onset of taste perception from the point after which the food was removed from the mouth.

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