The psychological study of the human gustatory system is undergoing some exciting changes. Where gustatory equals taste. Not the study of human wind making, as the name might imply. Taste. As in, taste buds.
One of the most robust areas of gustatory research involves assisting individuals change their taste preferences.
Let's take me, for example. I detest steamed broccoli.
Not a problem in and of itself, right? But the fact is my entire family loves steamed broccoli.
Now, I do happen to love steamed spinach. My entire family, however, hates steamed spinach.
Would you think me paranoid if, some evenings, I believe there's a conspiracy?
My solution, thus far, has been to serve both veggies on the same night. A pain. Two steamer baskets. One cooks in the microwave while the other waits on standby. In. Out. In. Out. All while keeping the gravy from burning.
But rather than this dual-menu method, I want to avoid the whole inconvenience by training either my entire family (n=4) to love steamed spinach, or more plausible, train myself (n=1) to love steamed broccoli.
But is this possible?
Yes, says Dr. Glozell Green of UT-C. I was thrilled when I found a video featuring her study. Quite easy to follow, Dr. Green's experimental module utilizes a single subject, A-B-A withdrawal design. It illustrates the effectiveness of a taste-palatability-improvement program. Where the study participant featured has a strong dislike of cilantro and where repeated exposure sets out to change her strong dislike into a like.
Does this program work?
Take a look and see for yourself while I steam myself a basket of broccoli: