Taste Development

  • David L. Hill
Part of the Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology book series (HBNE, volume 13)


The developing gustatory system has the complex task of processing and organizing an ever-increasing array of sensory stimuli. During ontogeny animals must be able to recognize food and to appropriately reject toxic foods that induce adverse or lethal consequences at the age when they begin to sample substances from their environment. In response to toxic stimuli, the neural taste message should be accurate, reliable, and probably not change significantly with age. In contrast, the ability to have an alterable neural message to other food classes during development is adaptive. There are multiple examples of both “static” and “plastic” processing in the developing gustatory system, and much of this chapter is devoted to expanding upon these ideas and their implications. I also consider the gustatory system as a major component in energy homeostasis; it must meet changes in nutritive demands and developmentally related gastrointestinal processes with an accurate, complex processing of relevant sensory stimuli. It is this relatively unexplored aspect of the gustatory system that may have the greatest relevance during development.


Taste Aversion Taste Receptor Terminal Field Taste Receptor Cell Developmental Psychobiology 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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