A device used to squirt measured amounts of liquids into the mouth of a person in a taste study. Researchers often pair the instrument with brain scanning technology.
Recently, a study of wine tasting pitted 10 of the top sommeliers from France and Switzerland against 10 novices. Researchers led by Lionel Pazart of Besançon University Hospital in France custom-built a gustometer to conduct the blind taste test. The scientists compared how brain activity changed when people tasted chardonnay, pinot noir or water.
When sipping wine, the experts had greater activity in several parts of their brains, including regions involved in memory, than novices did, the researchers report in October in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
Sommeliers’ expertise may allow them to process sensory input about a wine — its taste and bouquet — while simultaneously recalling other information, such as the reputation of the winery that produced the beverage.