Taste Perceptions & Psychiatry

The hows and whys of taste perception

Posted by Evan Muday on 2023 Jan 30

The psychiatry of taste refers to the study of how taste is perceived and processed in the brain, and how it relates to mental health and behavior.

Taste, also known as gustation, is one of the five basic senses and is responsible for detecting sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (savory) flavors. These flavors are detected by taste receptors on the tongue, which send signals to the brain for interpretation.

There are several areas of the brain that are involved in the perception of taste, including the primary taste cortex in the frontal lobe, the insular cortex, and the amygdala. These areas are also involved in other functions such as emotion, memory, and decision-making.

Disorders of taste can occur as a result of neurological conditions, such as stroke or head injury, or as a side effect of certain medications. Taste disorders can also be caused by a loss of taste buds due to aging or certain medical conditions.

Studies have also found a link between taste and mental health. People with depression or anxiety have been found to have a reduced ability to taste sweet and bitter flavors, while people with anorexia nervosa have been found to have an increased sensitivity to bitter tastes.

Overall, the psychiatry of taste is a complex and multidisciplinary field that involves the study of the neural, psychological, and behavioral aspects of taste perception. Further research in this field can lead to a better understanding of taste disorders and their potential treatment.