Preferring one taste over another without recognizing either

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jul;8(7):860-1. doi: 10.1038/nn1489.


Stimuli can be discriminated without being consciously perceived and can be preferred without being remembered. Here we report a subject with a previously unknown dissociation of abilities: a strong behavioral preference for the taste of sugar over saline, despite a complete failure of recognition. The pattern of brain damage responsible for the dissociation suggests that reliable behavioral choice among tastes can occur in the absence of the gustatory cortex necessary for taste recognition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / diagnosis
  • Encephalitis, Viral / psychology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Herpes Simplex*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Solutions
  • Sucrose
  • Taste*


  • Solutions
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose