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Sorting of Oral Sensations

Information source: Purdue University
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Taste Qualities; Primary Tastes

Intervention: Tasting solutions (Other)

Phase: N/A

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Purdue University

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Richard D Mattes, PhD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Purdue University


Recent research indicates that fatty acids in food may have a taste. There is no lexicon to describe the sensation of the fatty acids, but participants frequently describe the sensation as bitter or sour. The proposed study will ask participants who have been screened for their ability to detect fatty acids to sort a variety of taste stimuli, including sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami, and fatty acid tastes. Observing how the participants sort the stimuli will allow us to determine if the fatty acid taste is unique from other taste sensations.

Clinical Details

Official title: Sorting of Oral Sensations

Study design: Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional

Primary outcome: Similarity of taste sensations

Secondary outcome:

Effect of dietary fat on taste sensation sorting

Effect of genetic ability to taste propylthiouracil on taste sensation sorting

Effect of gender on taste sensation sorting

Effect of BMI on taste sensation sorting

Detailed description: Panelists will be screened for their ability to discriminate 0. 5% linoleic acid emulsion from the blank using two sequential tetrad tests. Panelists will wear nose clips during the tests. Panelists must successfully complete both tetrads in order to qualify for the study. Panelists who qualify for the full study will provide written informed consent as well as data on their ethnic background, age, and their habitual fat intake. Heights and weights will be measured. After completing the screening tests and the demographic questions, panelists will receive 15 samples (for the first group: "All tastes sorting") or 12 samples (for the second group: "Bitters sorting"). When panelists receive the samples, they will be instructed to put on nose clips and keep the clips on for the duration of the test. Participants will be provided with water for rinsing their mouths as well as a cup to spit the samples into after tasting. Panelists will be provided with more water and additional spit cups as necessary. Next, panelists will be instructed to: "Taste each sample, spit it into the spit cup, and rinse with water. Then, sort the samples into groups you believe are similar. Groups may contain as many or as few samples as you desire. You may have as many or as few groups as you desire." Once they have decided on their groups, they will write in a description for each group and rate the group for its overall similarity. After finishing this initial sorting task, if panelists have more than two total groups, they will be instructed to select the two groups they believe are most similar to each other and combine them. If panelists still have more than two total groups, they will be instructed to combine the two most similar groups again. This will continue until panelists only have two groups remaining. At each level, panelists will rate the new, combined group for its overall similarity on a visual analog scale, as before. Data from this sorting task will be compiled in to dissimilarity matrices for each participant, showing how many groups it took them before each sample was combined with each other sample. This data will be analyzed to determine if the fatty acid samples are similar or unique in sensation from other taste qualities.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Healthy (self report), normal taste function

Exclusion Criteria:

- Medication that alters taste sensation, failed to detect 0. 5% linoleic acid emulsion,

allergic to dairy or nuts

Locations and Contacts

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: October 2014
Last updated: May 11, 2015

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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