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Perception and Its Modalities$
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Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen, and Stephen Biggs

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199832798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199832798.001.0001

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Confusing Tastes with Flavours

Confusing Tastes with Flavours

(p.247) 10 Confusing Tastes with Flavours
Perception and Its Modalities

Charles Spence

Malika Auvray

Barry Smith

Oxford University Press

Use of the terms ‘‘taste’’ and ‘‘flavor’’ is often confusing, both in everyday use and in the academic literature. Failure to distinguish these basic terms can cloud the understanding of the chemical senses, currently a rapidly growing area of study in perception science. The chapter claims that it doesn’t make sense to treat experiences of the putative basic tastes, such as ‘‘sweetness’’ and ‘‘sourness’’ in everyday experience as tastes. Rather, the evidence suggests that they should be treated as flavors, just like ‘‘fruity’’ or ‘‘meaty’’. The chapter highlights the confusion between tastes and flavors and outlines reasons for its occurrence, linked to the topics of attention and oral referral. It then provides psychological, physiological, and philosophical reasons for the stance that tastes should be classified as a subcomponent of flavors and shows how doing so helps to dissolve certain debates.

Keywords:   perceptual system, sensory modality, flavor perception, taste perception

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