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Physiol Behav. 1987;40(5):641-6.

Effects of adaptation and cross-adaptation to common ions on sourness intensity.

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  • 1University of Utrecht, Psychological Laboratory, The Netherlands.


The effects of self and cross-adaptation of acetic acid and HCl solutions on the perception of sourness, were investigated using a filter paper method. In contrast to acetic acid and to pH-buffered acetic acid solutions, self-adaptation could not be obtained with HCl. In fact the sourness of the HCl test-stimulus after adaptation to HCl was increased compared to the sourness obtained with the unadapted tongue. Such a sourness potentiation was also observed with acetic acid and buffered acetic acid solutions after adaptation to distilled water. The results suggest that the reception process eliciting the sour taste of H+ ions and of undissociated acids are different and probably independent.

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