No Nose, No Taste?
Difficulty of Project
Less than $10.00
Easily purchased from a grocery store
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
One hour to collect the data; one day to prepare the science fair display
Without the sense of smell, can a person distinguish between different tastes?
Materials and Equipment
- Jellybeans (20 each of 4 different flavors)
- 4 bowls
A person’s sense of taste is greatly influence by the sense of smell. Over 70% of what we think we taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Our sense of taste only allows us to distinguish between bitter, salty, sweet, and sour. It is the odor molecules in foods that give us most of our sense of taste. When we eat, odor molecules travel between the mouth and the nose. The odor molecules meet with the olfactory receptor neurons in the nasal cavity and send a message to the brain.
In this investigation, a taste test is tried without the sense of smell.
Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research
odor molecules: smells released from foods
- Does the sense of smell affect the sense of taste?
- Why does the sense of smell affect the sense of taste?
- Gather the necessary materials.
- Separate the jelly beans by their flavor. Place jelly beans with the same flavor together in a bowl.
- Choose 10 subjects for your investigation.
- Blindfold a subject and ask them to eat one jelly bean and identify the flavor. Record the results.
- Have the blindfolded subject to hold their nose. Again ask them to eat one jelly bean and identify the flavor. Record the results.
- Repeat Steps 4 -5 with each of the subjects.
“How does the sense of smell work?” at http://health.howstuffworks.com/question139.htm
“Smell – The Nose Knows” at http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nosek.html
“Your Nose” at http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/nose.html
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.