Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. I: Qualitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
Gustatory Sensation 
The results of the previous experiments will be confirmed. 
(d) It should be possible, by aid of a long series of intensively 
graded solutions of the contrast-taste, roughly to measure the 
effect of the inducing solution. Thus, if a 5 % salt sol. has been 
judged (by contrast) as ‘good salt,’ the mouth could be violently 
rinsed, and then this same intensity ‘good salt’ matched (with¬ 
out contrast) from the series of graded salt solutions. — The 
experiment would, however, be tedious, and its results not 
very accurate. Still, it might be assigned as a problem to an 
interested student. 
Related Experiments.—(1) We spoke, in Exp. XIV., of 
‘neutralising’ the taste of distilled water by adding salt to 
it, — as if the sweet or sour taste could actually be cancelled by 
the addition of a stimulus of contrasting quality. The experi¬ 
ment may now be tried for its own sake. A 20 % sugar solu¬ 
tion, eg., may be taken, and changed from experiment to 
experiment by the intermixture of a small quantity of saturated 
salt solution. The student may be left to regulate the time- 
interval between test and test, and to determine the amount of 
salt to be added to a given quantity of sweet. Does the solu¬ 
tion reach a stage of complete gustatory indifference ? Does 
it pass at a jump from sweet to salt ? Or is neither of these 
alternatives realised, but a new taste altogether set up with 
intensive equality of the two primary tastes ? 
These questions are differently answered by different observ¬ 
ers. Taste is subject to enormous individual variation, and this 
particular experiment shows the variation in its extremest form. 
Some observers get a neutralisation even with bitter and sweet, 
although bitter, for the same observers, shows no trace of con¬ 
trast-effect ! Others get nothing more than the (more or less 
abrupt) change of primary taste qualities. One result, however, 
comes out pretty constantly : that a compensating mixture of 
sweet and salt gives rise to an. ‘ insipid,’ ‘flat,’ alkaline taste, 
entirely distinct from that of the two components. 
(2) This result suggests a further experiment, — the synthe- 
tising of the two mixed tastes, alkaline and metallic, which have 
played so large a part in the discussions concerning the number 
of discriminable taste qualities. The alkaline and metallic tastes


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