TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Are Certain Tastes Detected by Certain Parts of the Tongue?

Some people may distinctly remember learning in school that there’s a certain part of the tongue that picks up saltiness, another that picks up sweetness, and so on.

Is it true that certain tastes are detected by certain parts of the tongue?


No. The belief in a “tongue map” comes from a mistranslation by a Harvard psychologist of a discredited paper written in 1901.


While we may have increased sensitivity to certain qualities in certain areas of our tongues, we perceive all taste qualities by taste buds in all parts of our tongues.