Enhancement of sweetness ratings of aspartame by a vanilla odor presented either by orthonasal or retronasal routes

Nobuyuki Sakai, Tatsu Kobayakawa, Naomi Gotow, Sachiko Saito, Sumio Imada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


When taste stimuli are presented with specific odor stimuli, the perceived intensity of taste is enhanced, a phenomenon called odor-induced taste enhancement. There is a possibility, however, that the odor substances might have stimulated the taste receptors in the oral cavity as well as odor receptors in the nasal cavity because the odor substances were dissolved in the taste solutions in some preceding studies. Schifferstein and Verlegh (1996) found that the odor-induced taste enhancement effect was not found when the subjects wore a nose clip to prevent the olfactory perception. Thus, it was suggested that the odor-induced taste enhancement did not result from the stimulation of receptors in the oral cavity. To confirm and extend their study, we presented the odor stimuli simultaneously with, but not dissolved in, the taste stimuli with a more advanced approach to stimulus presentation. The participants reported enhancement of sweetness ratings for aspartame when the taste stimuli were presented with a vanilla odor. This odor-induced taste enhancement was found when the gaseous odor stimuli were presented either by the retronasal route or by the orthonasal route. There was little possibility that the vanilla odor stimulated the taste receptors during the orthonasal stimulation because the odor stimuli were presented directly into the nasal cavity. Thus, we could show that the odor-induced taste enhancement is elicited by olfactory perception. These results also suggested that there is little functional difference between retronasal and orthonasal olfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1008
Number of pages7
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number3 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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