Age-related differences in the pleasantness of chemosensory stimuli

Psychol Aging. 1986 Dec;1(4):312-8. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.1.4.312.


Modest decrements in both taste threshold sensitivity and, more recently, suprathreshold sensitivity have been associated with the aging process. The present study was designed to investigate the existence of changes in preference for various concentrations of single tastes and of the same single tastes in more complex chemosensory mixtures. In this study, 300 participants from three different age groups (18-26, 32-45, over 65) rated for pleasantness four concentrations of sodium chloride, sucrose, and citric acid presented in both aqueous and beverage bases. Results showed significant effects of age, stimulus background, stimulus, concentration, and of several interactions, and they suggest that elderly subjects find salt and sugar pleasanter at higher concentrations than younger subjects do.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Citrates / administration & dosage
  • Citric Acid
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Taste*


  • Citrates
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose