10 Taste and Olfaction

Behavioral Neuroscience

  1. Patricia M. Di Lorenzo PhD1,
  2. Steven L. Youngentob PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop203010

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Di Lorenzo, P. M. and Youngentob, S. L. 2012. Taste and Olfaction. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 3:10.

Author Information

  1. 1

    State University of New York, Psychology Department, Binghamton, New York, USA

  2. 2

    SUNY Upstate Medical University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Syracuse, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


This review is meant as a survey of what is known about taste and olfaction, two senses that are essential for the sustenance of life. In separate sections, the effective stimuli, anatomy, and peripheral and central neural coding of each sense are discussed. In both systems, it is apparent that the widespread availability of genetic tools and the development of sophisticated technological methodology have led to dramatic advances in nearly all areas of study. The explosion of knowledge that has resulted has significantly revised our thinking about how both taste and olfactory stimuli are perceived and represented in both the peripheral organs and in the central nervous system. Perhaps most important are discoveries concerning new ways in which neurons represent information about chemical stimuli and the plasticity of both systems with respect to response to damage and experience. In all, these breakthroughs are underscoring the importance of the chemical senses and their roles in health and disease.


  • taste;
  • gustatory;
  • olfaction;
  • smell;
  • chemosensory