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Physiol Behav. 2004 Mar;81(1):1-4.

Effects of stimulation duration on electrogustometric thresholds.

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Smell and Taste Center, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 5 Ravdin Pavilion, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The ability to detect low electrical currents presented to the lingual surface is widely used to assess taste function in humans. Despite this fact, the influence of stimulus duration on electrical taste thresholds is not well established. In this study, we evaluated the effects of current duration (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 s) on electrogustometric detection thresholds for two regions of the anterior tongue in 24 college students. Anodal stimulation was produced using a stainless steel 12.5-mm(2) electrode, and thresholds were determined using a single-staircase procedure. A non-monotonic function for the threshold values was observed for both tongue regions across the stimulus durations, with the 1.0-s duration stimulus resulting in a lower threshold value (i.e., higher sensitivity) than either the 0.5- or 1.5-s durations, which did not differ in magnitude from one another. These data suggest that stimulus-duration-related enhancement of lingual detection threshold sensitivity to electric currents disappears at some point after 1 s.

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