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The tongue recognizes five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami—a savory aspect associated with meat and mushrooms. But the taste you actually experience isn’t that simple. In recent years, a growing number of studies have shown that taste can be influenced by a host of surprising factors.

1. Language

People praise food with a descriptive name more than the same food with a lackluster name. For example: “Succulent Italian Seafood Filet” versus “Seafood Filet.”

2. Utensils

Spoons made from copper or zinc enhance a food’s apparent saltiness. Researchers suggest further study into how this could help people eat less salt.

3. Temperature

Warm beer tastes more bitter, cold ham tastes saltier, and bacon beer? Tastes horrible*.

4. Color

Forty-eight percent of participants thought soda in a blue glass was more thirst-quenching than in other colors, likely because they associated blue with cold.

Source: 7 Factors That Change Your Sense Of Taste

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Random sensory quotes

“That’s going to change, … We’re going to put eyes, ears and sensory organs on our computers and our networks in absolutely unprecedented ways. We’re going to ask them to observe and manipulate the physical world on our behalf.”

— Paul Saffo