Taste: A phenomena in our mouths or brains?


A study which assessed how people perceive the taste and value of wine was conducted using functional MRI. Twenty subjects rated the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon wines in six tasting trials. Each one was administered twice, once with a low price and once with a high price. The subjects understood the test to be related to how sampling time affects flavor perception. The reported pleasantness of the wine was found to be correlated with price, even for the same wines. Activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex increased when the subjects believed they were tasting expensive wines. Marketing influences our behavior, particularly in our perceptions of value. Now we know a little more about the neural mechanisms of this influence.

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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