The organ of taste

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Taste sensation is a form of chemical sense, specialized for the detection of compounds (tastants) dissolved in the saliva. Broadly speaking, taste is just one specific type of visceral sensation that is particularly relevant to food ingestion. Taste signals trigger a host of behavioral and autonomic responses, appetitive or aversive, most of which are visceral reflexes (salivation, gastrointestinal activation, swallowing, gagging, vomiting), or patterns of involuntary locomotor activity (orofacial movements, disgust responses). However, unlike many other visceral signals, taste is also accompanied by conscious perception, recognition, hedonic quality, and memory formation (i.e., predominantly cortical functions). Although these features make taste sensation a truly elaborate faculty, deserving a place among the five principal human senses, the intimate link with visceral sensation is reflected in the remarkably diffuse character of both taste perception and the processing of gustatory (taste-relevant) input.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAtlas of the Sensory Organs
Subtitle of host publicationFunctional and Clinical Anatomy
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)1592598498, 9781588294128
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Székely, A. D., & Csillag, A. (2005). The organ of taste. In Atlas of the Sensory Organs: Functional and Clinical Anatomy (pp. 187-198). Humana Press.