Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Tasty Little Myth

My 5yo was eating Rita's today and she commented on how she tasted sourness on the tip of her tongue. I was about to use this teaching moment to go into a spiel on the mapping of the tongue and taste buds when for some unexplained reason, I stopped mid-sentence and Googled instead. What I found was very interesting to say the least. It was an article disproving the myth that the taste buds on your tongue are divided into four distinct sections (sour, sweet, salty and bitter). Have a quick read if you find a minute to spare:

Image: stock.xchange

Instead, as it turns out, they are spread out evenly across the tongue. Like the author, I remember being frustrated and perplexed as a child doing experiments trying to prove this tongue "map" was accurate and utterly failing because I tasted sugar all over, not just in the supposed "zone". I remember thinking my tongue was deficient. I'm so glad I looked this up first, before imparting this false knowledge to my daughter. As a friend and I used to joke, "I almost made her ignorant!"

Have you, as an adult, discovered something that all along you thought was true but are now finding no longer works for you, or is just plain false? What about something as simple as the pronunciation of a word you never understood as a child, and are just now as an adult getting it right? Please share your comments as I'd love to hear your stories! The more entertaining, the better.

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