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Chemical Senses Essay


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Chemical Senses


The human body is designed to interact intelligently with the surrounding environment towards ensuring its survival and more so, allow for progressive development in the manner man employs available resources to attain added advantages. Chemical senses generally referred to as smell, taste, and chemesthesis enable mankind to utilize chemical relays to communicate and synthesis information concerning the immediate surroundings and other human beings (Coppin, Parma, & Pause, 2016) *(page 5 first and second sentences). Chemical senses play three principle functions associated with defense, nutrition, and communication. Healthy individuals have the capacity to experience taste and smells in ways that create vivid as well as long-lasting memories that ensure each person identifies uniquely in the course of life (Novak, Gitelman, Schuyler, & Li, 2015; Spence, 2015)* (Fusing minute, discrete traces of biological/ emotional significance (e.g., a fleeting malodor, a faint discoloration) into a discernible percept of a harmful object (e.g., contaminated food), multisensory emotion integration would afford particular survival advantage by promoting defense behavior. Para 1 na Finally, the subthreshold presentation of negative emotion highlights the automatic, unconscious nature of crossmodal synergy in emotion processing (Vroomen et al., 2001), promoting efficient perception of biologically salient objects as we navigate through the often ambiguous, sometimes confusing biological landscape in everyday life. –last paragraph before acknowledgements-). It is thus imperative that psychologists comprehend how smell and taste complement each other towards stimulating connections with the brain and emotional memories.

How do smell and taste affect each other?

Smell is a direct chemical sense since it involves an individual’s capacity to discern molecules released by particular objects such as a tangerine or banana. These object specific molecules drift through air in an easy and quick way reaching the nose (Starr & McMillan, 2015 p. 270). The nose bears cilia which are chemoreceptors that activate signals to the brain relative to the sensed molecules. According to Novak et al. (2015) man’s sense of smell is interlinked with the brain section which deals with emotions. Through the olfactory bulb, the brain converts sensations generated from the exposure to molecules from distinctive things thus allowing a person to perceive it via smell. This implies that through the sense of smell, people are capacitated to adjust mood, memory and behavior (Novak et al., 2015). Similarly, taste as a chemical sense is dependent on the manner cells on the tongue receive tastants and subsequently send associated nerve signals to the brain. The sensation an individual attains after tasting a particular item resides within the brain (Starr & McMillan, 2015 p. 270). The signals transmitted from the tongue’s receptor cells follow the same path explaining the reason smell and taste sense are closely interrelated.

Which would you change to make a meal taste better?

Given that smell and taste are so closely related, it is no wonder when an individual gets flu, food fails to taste any good. According to Spence (2015), when an individual is savoring a meal, it is not the taste that determines the exquisiteness derived but rather its flavor. Flavor encompasses a range of sensory stimulations ranging from food temperature, texture, smell, and taste (Spence, 2015). Since food does not taste as good if one’s sense of smell is compromised by a cold or flu, then it is sufficient to point out that in making a meal taste better, then the best approach is to improve its appeal to olfactory senses (Coppin, Parma, & Pause, 2016 p.103-104 introductory paragraph). For instance, adding a touch of vanilla essence to a pastry dish significantly improves its overall flavor in the mind of the person about to eat it. This implies that the smell an individual attributes with a certain food group determines the way they perceive it even when it subjects taste buds to appealing flavors (Coppin, Parma, & Pause, 2016 p. 119).

If you created the most memorable meal of your life, what sensory elements must be present to emphasize the connection between the chemical senses, emotional memories, and the brain?

Different senses are in play when an individual attaches the flavor gained from consuming a particular meal with a memorable and emotionally stimulating experience. When creating a perfect meal, it is imperative that one appreciates that sight, texture, smell, taste, temperature, as well as sound play a critical role in correlating the distinctive chemical senses with desirable emotional memories and the brain (Spence, 2015). For instance, the brain gains messages from the body that trigger an impulse to eat when blood sugars are low. In situations where one is already full and the body has sufficient energy reserves, then the desire to eat is low. To appeal to the chemical senses, it is imperative that the food offers unique aromas that work together to with the sense of taste to ingrain special culinary emotions in to the brain as memories (Novak et al., 2015). To further evoke good emotional memories with a perfect meal, one can ensure that the ambience, table settings, plates, and meal express attractive colors. This can be accentuated with exquisite music such as classical melodies that create a deep sense of serenity.

Describe the connection created between the chemical senses, emotional memories, and the brain

When an individual encounters a fruit or vegetable not yet tasted, there is a degree of indifference or in some instances an urge to relate its smell with the way it will taste. This is because the brain is unable to process attained smell senses with any perceivable emotional memory Novak et al. (2015). However, in instances where one encounters a meal whose gastronomic qualities are identifiable with a beautiful emotional memory, then it has the capacity to transform an individual’s mood and behavior. This implies that a person can express excitement upon savoring the smell and taste of a meal based on the emotional memories it conjures up in the brain via the various chemical senses.


One can appropriately support that among the chemical senses, the sense of smell is a principle determinant in how an individual ascribes to nutritional advice. For instance, fast foods such as fried chicken and pastries tend to produce molecules which travel through air to the nostrils thereby activating receptors to relay messages to the brain correlating meals with memorable emotional experiences. When an individual is under stress, they seek to alleviate such feelings by consuming meals like ice cream which similarly may serve to excite the brain into bypassing the worrying moods. To encourage people partake desirable nutritional behaviors, it is important to attach good emotional memories to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables towards ensuring adherence to healthy eating habits.




Coppin, G., Parma, V., & Pause, B. M. (2016). Affective Sciences through the Chemical Senses. Frontiers in psychology7: 1590.

Novak, L. R., Gitelman, D. R., Schuyler, B., & Li, W. (2015). Olfactory-visual integration facilitates perception of subthreshold negative emotion. Neuropsychologia77, 288-297.

Spence, C. (2015). Multisensory flavor perception. Cell161(1), 24-35.

Starr, C., & McMillan, B. (2015). Human biology. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.