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Brain Res. 1987 Jun 23;414(1):197-203.

The taste system encodes stimulus toxicity.


Attempts to define the organization of the taste system in terms of the physical characteristics of stimuli have been largely unsuccessful. We recorded taste-evoked neural activity in the rat's hindbrain and determined that stimuli could be effectively organized along a physiological dimension which corresponds to stimulus toxicity. Taste is a visceral sense that mediates between the external and internal chemical environments. Its responsiveness to a wide range of chemicals and its organization along a dimension which promotes the organism's physiological welfare ideally suit it to that purpose.

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