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When we drink a cup of coffee, we detect it using the receptors of our bodies, and that information is then converted into activated neurons. Waves of light are converted into colors, with the mouth receptors trying to classify the beverage as one of the five basic tastes: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami (the pleasant, savory taste).
All these signals are then woven together and recognized by the brain, and it is still not the absolute reflection of reality but is a highly subjective experience.
When we see someone else do something, we sometimes think we could do better, and probably recognized the food taste in a more objective way. The problem is that most of us are suffering from various biases, like the common bias blind spot: We think we are less biased than others.
Another bias could be the courtesy bias, where we tell our aunt we like something she made because it’s socially polite to do so.
The vanilla flavour does not contain sugar. Yet the taste of vanilla tricks the brain into thinking that it is having something sweet.
This is due to the fact that almost all the desserts we had since we were born, like cakes and pastries, probably were sweet and did have that particular flavour, making the brain associate it with sweetness.
A neuroscientist specializing in food conducted an elaborate EEG brain scan test that measures the electrical impulses of feelings, emotions, thoughts, sensory input and even muscle movement while the tongue tastes a particular food.
The results showed that the brain figures out the food within the first 100 milliseconds, and can tell the taste of various foods apart when all the other noise is minimized.
Apart from the various signals being measured, there are other things like sweat, pupil dilation and gastronomical signals that are recent discoveries of how the brain works, as the scientists try to bypass the biases of people and capture the subjective taste differences.
The research can help create better, healthier foods, as we get new insights on how we sense our food. We can also find out if there are other basic tastes, like fat, for instance.
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In the urge to eat a bigger portion of life’s cake, we believe we shouldn’t waste our time and grab it while we can, unable to relax or relish life in a calm manner.
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Our mind is full of kind of greed to consume life to the maximum. This is not your garden variety ‘i want more money’ greed, but a force inside us to live life to the fullest.