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Taste Map Myth


By heath - Posted on 09 March 2012

I was looking up some facts regarding taste, and found this nugget. The idea that different areas of the toungue detect different tastes is a myth. WHAT!!! I know I was taught this in school. Wikipedia, see it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste-map_myth says that the myth was disproven in 1974. That was two years before I was born.

This just goes to show the problems with getting your science from textbooks and popularizers. This is one of my biggest pet peaves. By the time real science trickles down to the regular people, it is often misinterpreted and/or outdated. This is true whether you get it from textbooks, popular books, or so-called experts who are usually too old to be doing real science anymore. Their scholarship is usually at least two decades old.

If you have never read Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, do yourself a favor. Science is real. Science is important, but it is a social enterprise and therefore flawed at many levels.

If you want real science, talk to graduate students.