DETECTING FLAVORANTS: MULTISENSORY PROCESSES IN CHEMOSENSATION
Flavors of foods and beverages taken into the mouth reflect a congeries of multisensory inputs: gustatory, olfactory, and somatosensory. One simple model hypothesizes that chemosensory inputs operate as independent channels whose outputs combine linearly. At suprathreshold levels, the model implies linear additivity of gustatory and olfactory contributions to perceived intensity of flavor mixtures. In the region of threshold, our version of the model assumes independent sources of noise in the gustatory and olfactory channels prior to summation. Data on the detection of the gustatory flavorant sucrose, the olfactory flavorant vanillin, and flavor mixtures of sucrose plus vanillin are consistent with this independent-channel model â€“ although it is not yet possible to eliminate other plausible accounts of the detection of complex flavorants.