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May 1965

The Physiology of Taste.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(5):627-628. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03860170109039

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The word taste means many things to many men as, indeed, most words do and all words may. As a strict physiological term the function of taste from the buds on the tongue includes the sensation of salt, bitter, acid, or sour. The bulk of what we refer to as taste in ordinary parlance is the olfactory element. Smell can be highly developed. It is reputed that the sensory machinery of professional perfume sniffers is able to identify hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of different odors. So keen is their nose that they are said to be able to identify a few scents in concentrations of only a few molecules.

In its broader use the word taste comes to imply all the paraphernalia of almost automatic discrimination and judgment which enable the devotee of the fine arts of literature, painting, or music to separate and skim off, as it were, for

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