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Can You Taste With a Plugged Nose? How Smell Affects TasteFeatured science projectScience project video

Discussion

1. Why is it easier for the tasters to tell what kind of food they were sampling when only blindfolded?

2. Why do you think some foods are harder to tell when blindfolded and with the nose plugged?

Questions & Answers

Can we detect the taste food at all with our nose plugged?

Most people cannot tell what they're eating without their sense of smell when all the foods have similar textures. That is because flavor is a sensory experience of both the nose and the tongue combined. Different people will be able to tell different foods without their sense of smell if they recognize the texture even when pureed as a baby food.

If so, which foods were easiest to tell? Which foods were the hardest to tell?

Answers will vary depending on volunteers' age and ethnicity.

Why should the person conducting the experiment not include their results in the data collected?

The person conducting the experiment knows which types of food there are and can more easily figure out what they are tasting just by the texture of the food.

Make it Your Own

In this experiment, you used baby food with blind folded, nose plugged volunteer tasters. You could also try:

  • jelly beans of various flavors like lemon, strawberry, orange, grape, etc.
  • all citrus fruits cut into small pieces (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc.)
  • with a food processor make your own "baby food" that is all similar consistency and chose one food from each of the 5 taste types
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    Take into consideration food allergies and ask your "tasters" about any food allergies they have. Also, be considerate that some people do not like to be blindfolded. If a volunteer does not want to be blind folded, have them close their eyes. Be sure to use a clean spoon for each sample being tasted.