Steven D. Munger, Ph.D., the associate director of the Center for Smell and Taste at the University of Florida, went on Reddit to answer some fascinating questions about how we taste and smell things. Here's what we learned from his AMA:
1. Tongue maps are bullshit.
2. This is how smell and taste works:
3. Some people have a distorted sense of smell.
4. There's even such a thing as phantom smells.
5. And some people have no sense of smell at all.
6. If you want to see how important smell is to flavor, you can do a taste test yourself:
7. Most smells are not universally liked or disliked. We all have different preferences.
8. Smell is associated with memory.
9. The very smell of something — like tequila — can make you sick.
10. "Flavor-tripping" is a real thing and it will make lemons taste like candy.
11. Wine-tasters who talk about "mineral" or "earthy aromas" are not entirely full of bullshit, maybe...
12. There's a reason why we have to "learn to like coffee."
13. Sugar seems to be a universally preferred taste.
14. There's even a scientific reason why some people don't like certain vegetables.
15. Some people have an extraordinary amount of taste buds.
If you want to know more about smell and taste, check out the Reddit thread or The University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste.