Science project

Smell & Taste

  • How does our sense of smell affect our sense of taste?
  • Are all the taste sensations affected by smell in the same way?
  • What is the evolutionary significance of our sense of taste?

The aroma of turkey on Thanksgiving, cookies baking in the oven, or freshly squeezed orange juice. The nose knows, recognizing these smells and associating them with certain tastes. Either good or bad our sense of smell plays a role in taste. A common example is a stuffy nose. When you get a cold and your nose is "stuffed up" it is nearly impossible to taste anything. When giving cough syrup parents often tell their kids to hold their nose so they don't taste the bitter medicine. In this experiment we will examine the relationship between smell and taste.

  • Blindfold
  • Paper cups
  • Nose plug
  • Food: Sweet, Sour, Salty, & Bitter.

  1. Based on your background research you will have your subjects guess the flavor of foods representative of each taste sensation.
  2. Prepare the foods. Break the food into small pieces so the subjects do not recognize the flavor based on the texture of the food.
  3. Place each sample into a plain paper cup.
  4. Choose 10 subjects.
  5. Blindfold and nose plug each subject.
  6. Give the subject the first sample in a cup and pour the contents directly into their mouth. Do not allow the subjects to handle the food sample directly in case they can recognize the food by touch. Have the subject guess the flavor and describe how it tastes. Record their guess and description.
  7. Wait 10 minutes before giving them the next sample.
  8. Repeat steps 6-7 for the other food samples.
  9. For the next part each subject will be blindfolded only without a nose plug so his or her sense of smell is intact.
  10. Using the same foods from the first part have each subject taste and guess the flavor. Record their guess and description.
  11. Organize your data into a chart.
  12. Did the subjects guess the correct flavors while blindfolded & nose plugged?
  13. Did the subjects guess the correct flavors while only blindfolded?
  14. Were there some foods/taste sensations that could be correctly identified despite a lack of smell?


Sweetness: Guess the flavor of the Life Saver.

Actual Flavor: Wild Cherry









Blindfold & Nose Plug

Blindfold Only











































Subjects were given a list of possible flavor choices.


Terms/Concepts: Senses: Smell & Taste; Taste Buds; Taste Sensations; Examples of foods for each taste sensation



Author: Melissa Bautista
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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.

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