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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 9, 2013

The Senses of Taste and Smell

Author Affiliations

JAMA. 1913;61(14):1300

October 4, 1913

JAMA. 2013;310(14):1509. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5354

If asked to make a distinction between the sense of taste and that of smell, most of us would probably say that besides differences in the organs with which these manifestations are concerned, the stimuli which call their respective sensations into existence are unlike. It has generally been assumed and taught that taste is excited by substances in the state of solution and that smell is called forth by products in a gaseous or vaporous condition. This view, however, has not remained unchallenged. It has been contended by a number of physiologists that solutions may act as stimuli for the olfactory surfaces, and some have gone so far as to assert that in normal functioning of the sense of smell in man, the odorous particles are caught on the moist olfactory surfaces and dissolved before they can act on the nerve terminals.