Heredity and experience: their relative importance in the development of taste preference in man

J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1975 May;89(3):279-84. doi: 10.1037/h0076802.


Heritability estimates for sucrose, lactose, and sodium chloride taste preferences were uniformly low in a sample of 311 monozygotic and like-sex dizygotic twin pairs between 9 and 15 years of age. Black children preferred more concentrated solutions of all three tastants than did Caucasian children. This effect was independent of socioeconomic status in the total sample. Males preferred more concentrated solutions of sucrose and lactose than did females- but there were no sex differences in sodium chloride preference. The possibility that early intake experiences may play a role in the determination of enduring taste preferences in Homo sapiens is discussed.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Genes*
  • Genetics, Behavioral
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • Lactose
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Taste*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Lactose