Can Students Identify Fruit Juices Better with Taste, Smell, or Both?

Researched by Cody A.
2002-03



PURPOSE

The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether students could identify fruit juices better using  taste, smell, or both taste and smell.

I became interested in this idea when I had a cold and couldn’t taste the food as well because I had a plugged-up nose. 

The information gained from this experiment could be used by people with colds so they know what fruit juices they could drink and enjoy the most

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HYPOTHESIS

My first hypothesis was that people would be able to identify fruit juices better with smelling rather than tasting. 

My second hypothesis was that people would do the best with taste and smell at the same time.

My third hypothesis was that people would be able to identify apple juice best.

I based my first hypothesis on the World Book Encyclopedia, which states "Our sense of taste is affected by how things smell. When we have a cold and a stuffy nose, some foods may taste alike." P. 50, World Book Encyclopedia 1999 Volume T.

I based my second hypothesis on the World Book Encyclopedia, which states, " Our sense of taste is affected by how things smell." P. 50, World Book Encyclopedia 1999 Volume T.

I based my third hypothesis on Washington State Apple Commission’s website, which states "Apples are the largest agricultural product grown in Washington State."

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EXPERIMENT DESIGN

The constants in this study were:

  • The amount of fruit juice tested
  • The temperature of the juice
  • The number of subjects per group
  • The amount of water used to rinse out mouth between juices
  • The brand of juices
  • The test container that the juice is put into
  • The container used to measure the amount of juice


The manipulated variable was the sense or senses that the subjects used.

The responding variable was the number of responses  accurately  identifying  the juices.

To measure the responding variable, I recorded the responses reported to me by subjects in each test.

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MATERIALS
 
Quantity Item Description
1 Bottle of grape juice
1 Bottle of cranberry juice
1 Bottle of apple juice
1 Bottle of low pulp orange juice
4 Nose plugs
4 Blindfolds
200 DIXIE paper cups
1 Empty classroom
4 Desks
4 Chairs
1 Box of Food handling gloves

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PROCEDURES

1. The first step is to take four students into the room.
  A. Seat them
  B. Explain what they will be doing
  C. Blindfold them
  D. Put nose plugs on the subjects
  E. Put food handling gloves on
2. Next, pour one of the juices into four cups and have the subjects taste them. (Refer to the Random Juice Order Table to determine this group’s juice order.)
3. Still blindfolded, have them raise their hand when you call out the juice that they think it is out of a list of six juices.
4. Have them rinse their mouths out with water.
5. Repeat steps two through four with the other juices listed on the Random Juice Order Table.
6. Take the nose plugs off the subjects.
7. Pour the next juice into four more cups, and have the subjects smell them.
8. Repeat step three.
9. Repeat steps seven and eight with the other juices.
10. Have the subjects taste as well as smell a juice chosen in a random order. 
11. Repeat steps three and four.
12. Repeat steps ten and eleven with the other juices stated on the Random Juice Order table.
13. Repeat steps one through twelve with the other seven groups. 

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RESULTS

The original purpose of this experiment was to determine whether students would be able to identify fruit juices better with taste, smell or both taste and smell.

The results of the experiment were that taste and smell together were more accurate than taste or smell alone. Taste alone worked better than smell alone. The difference between the senses were so minute that if someone were to conduct this experiment again, they might come up with different results. 

See the table and graphs

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CONCLUSION

My first hypothesis was that people would be able to identify fruit juices better with smelling rather than tasting. 

The results indicate that my first hypothesis should be rejected. On average, tasting was better than smelling by about one answer per person.

My second hypothesis was that people would do the best with taste and smell at the same time.

The results indicate that my second hypothesis should be accepted because taste and smell at the same time was better than taste and smell individually, but only by about one answer per person.

My third hypothesis was that people would be able to identify apple juice better. 

The results indicate that my third hypothesis should be rejected. Orange juice was the easiest to identify with an outstanding one hundred percent on all of the tests with each subject, with apple juice coming in second.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I would get the same results with other juices, or with solid fruits rather than juices.

If I were to conduct this project again, I would try to use more subjects and use different kinds of juice. Last, I would choose a substitute for cranberry because most of the subjects disliked that juice.

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Research Report

Introduction

Smell and taste are very important human senses. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy foods and drinks. Taste and smell have helped humans survive by avoiding poisons and other problems. 

Taste

The tongue detects taste. The front tastes sweet things, just past that is salty items, next comes the sour, and in the very back is bitter. Taste is a very important part of our lives. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a lemon and an apple. Smell controls how some things taste. Without smell, many things would taste alike. People could rarely tell the difference between various foods and drinks. Humans taste and smell at just about the same time. If you are in a room that smells like oranges and you eat a cracker, it might taste like an orange. Food must contain fats or be moist to be tasted. 

Taste is picked up by receptor cells on the tongue, which meet up with the receptor cells deep inside the brain to determine what you taste. Taste buds are in groups called Papillae. These groups pick up the different tastes and send them to the receptor cells. 

Smell

The nose detects smell and identifies matter that floats in the air.  Smell detects and identifies matter that floats in the air using the nose. Flavor is a combination of taste and smell, not just taste like most people believe. Matter floats up to the bridge of the nose, and it is then detected by receptor cells. These cells send nerve impulses into the olfactory bulb deep inside the brain. From there, the nerve impulses get sent to the front of the brain. This is where flavor is determined, along with taste. Many animals use smell to find their prey, to detect their predators and many other things. 

Without smell, we wouldn’t be able to identify things that would otherwise be easily identified. Cherries may taste like tomatoes; potatoes like apples and many other things that seem totally different would taste almost exactly the same. 

Fruit

The word "fruit" comes from the Latin word "frui" which means to enjoy. When people think of fruit, they usually think of apples, bananas, oranges, cherries and the everyday fruits. Some people think that tomatoes are vegetables, but they aren’t. One way to tell the difference between fruits and vegetables are seeds. Fruits have seeds and vegetables don’t. Also, most fruit plants are perennials, which means the plants re-generate themselves the following year, and most vegetables are annuals, which means they grow annually, or just once per plant per year. 

There are three classifications of fruits: temperature fruits, subtropical fruits, and tropical fruits. Some temperature fruits are apricots, cranberries, blueberries, apples, gooseberries, and plums. Dates, avocado, grapefruits, lemons and olives are all subtropical fruits. And last, mangoes, litchis, bananas and papayas are all tropical fruits.

Apples are the biggest crop in Washington. There are many different varieties of apples. McIntosh is the most popular in the USA. There are many pests that destroy thousands of apples per year. Some of them are codling moths, apple maggots, red-banded leaf roller, aphids, leaf hoppers, mites, San Jose´ scale and oyster shell scale. Farmers use many pesticides that are toxic if misused to destroy these pests. 

Apples range in color from light green to a very dark blackish red. Size and shape vary between apples. They can be oblate or oblong in shape. The size varies from the size of a grapefruit to  as small as a cherry (known to most of us as a crabapple).

The Brain

The human brain is the most important organ in the body, next to the heart. Without it, people wouldn’t be able to live. The brain of a newborn baby weighs about one pound, and by the time that baby is six, it will weigh about three pounds at its full size. The brain has three main parts to it, the cerebrum, cerebellum and the brain stem. The brain stem controls the most important things like the breathing rate, heart beat, and many other items required for living. The left side of the brain controls the right side of your body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side of your body. 

The Nervous System

The nervous system has billions of cells called neurons. These cells form  communication strings, which are called nerves. These nerves are routed throughout the body, and are responsible for what we feel. If the brain stem is damaged, people become paralyzed. They wouldn’t be able to feel anything at certain points of their body depending on where it is damaged. Receptor cells take what people see and hear and send nerve impulses to the brain to be analyzed. Once the impulses reach the brain, it decides what you should do. If there is a speeding car coming your way, it might tell you to jump out of the way, or if the television is on the wrong channel, it may tell you to change it. 

Summary

Smell and taste are very important human senses. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy foods and drinks. Taste and smell have helped humans survive by avoiding poisons and other problems.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burnie, David. The Concise Encyclopedia of the Human Body. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publications, Inc.  1995. P. 75

"Five Senses." December 16, 2002 http://www.uen.org/utahlink/lp_res/TRBOZ8.html

Halpern, Bruce P. "Taste." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1999. 

Janick, Jules. "Fruit." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.

Kindersley, Dorling. "Apples." Encarta Encyclopedia. 2001

Stern, Kingsley R. "Fruit." Encarta Encyclopedia. 2001

Washington State Apple Commission, http://www.bestapples.com/index.html

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Mr. Newkirk, Mrs. Helms, and my parents for helping me work on my project.

Mr. Newkirk corrected everything that was typed, read and reread everything that was written, conferenced with me every day and did many other things. Without him, this project wouldn’t have been possible.

Mrs. Helms supervised my experiment while I was working with the subjects and helped me pour juices when I didn’t have enough time to do it by myself. 

My mother helped and supported me all the way through the experiment. She and my dad, bought the supplies needed for the experiment (juices, cups and nose plugs) and even helped me decide what to do for the experiment. 

I would like to thank all of my teachers for letting me get out of class in order to conduct my experiment. 

Last, I would like to thank my subjects.  Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to conduct this experiment.


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