Palatability of tastes is associated with facial circulatory responses

Chem Senses. 2014 Mar;39(3):243-8. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjt074. Epub 2014 Jan 5.


To examine whether various types of taste stimuli in the oral cavity elicit unique changes in facial skin blood flow (SkBF) according to the palatability perceived by an individual, the facial SkBF was observed by laser speckle flowgraphy in 15 healthy subjects (11 males and 4 females) before and during the ingestion of bitter tea, chilli sauce, coffee, orange juice, soup, and a water control. The heart rate, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and SkBF in the index finger were recorded continuously. Subjects reported their subjective palatability and taste intensity scores after each stimulus. The vascular conductance indexes (CIs) in the face and finger were calculated as ratios of SkBF to MAP. CI in the eyelid increased significantly in response to chilli sauce, orange juice, and soup, whereas CIs in the forehead, nose, and cheek decreased in response to bitter tea. There was a significant correlation between the palatability scores and CI values in the eyelid when changes induced by chilli sauce were excluded. These results suggest that the facial circulatory response reflects the degree of palatability of a foodstuff.

Keywords: autonomic nervous system; emotion; laser speckle flowgraphy; taste.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Capsicum / chemistry
  • Capsicum / metabolism
  • Citrus sinensis / chemistry
  • Citrus sinensis / metabolism
  • Face / blood supply
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Male
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Tea / chemistry
  • Young Adult


  • Tea