Sweetness does not habituate during a sip-and-spit experiment

Physiology & Behavior
H N Schifferstein, J E Frijters


In gravitational flow studies, the estimated saltiness of a NaCl/sucrose mixture increases after repetitive stimulations with sucrose. This increment is hypothesized to be the consequence of successive contrast and suppression release. According to the successive contrast hypothesis, the saltiness of the mixture percept is overestimated because its salty taste stands out against the preceding sweet tastes. The release of saltiness from suppression is supposed to originate from habituation to sweet stimuli. In the present study, the saltiness of a NaCl/sucrose mixture was judged after repetitive stimulations with sucrose using a sip-and-spit procedure. The increment in saltiness estimates after repeated stimulations with sucrose could be fully accounted for by successive contrast. No suppression release was observed. Differences in experimental procedure (the degree of experimental control, the subjects' arousal level, the variation in the proximal stimuli, the area of the tongue stimulated, and the subjective intensities of the habituating stimuli) that may affect the rate of habituation, are suggested as potential sources of the differences between the gravitational flow studies and the present one.


Jun 1, 1979·Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology·H T Lawless
Sep 1, 1992·Perception & Psychophysics·H N Schifferstein, J E Frijters
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Aug 1, 1997·Perception & Psychophysics·H N Schifferstein, W E Kuiper
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