Tongue Map

tongue map

The tongue map or taste map is a common misconception that different sections of the tongue are exclusively responsible for different basic tastes. Although widely taught in schools, this was scientifically disproven by later research; all taste sensations come from all regions of the tongue, although parts may be more sensitive to certain flavors. The theory behind this map originated from a paper written by Harvard psychologist Edwin G. Boring, which was a translation of a 1901 German paper.

The paper showed minute differences in threshold detection levels across the tongue. These small differences were later taken out of context by textbooks in declaring discrete taste regions. So, while some parts of the tongue may be able to detect a taste before the others do, all parts are equally good at conveying the qualia of all tastes. Threshold sensitivity may differ across the tongue, but intensity of sensation does not.

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