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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A confusion matrix for the study of taste perception.

Taste stimulus identification was studied in order to more thoroughly examine human taste perception. Ten replicates of an array of 10 taste stimuli--NaCl, KCl, Na glutamate, quinine. HCl, citric acid, sucrose, aspartame, and NaCl-sucrose, acid-sucrose, and quinine-sucrose mixtures--were presented to normal subjects for identification from a list of corresponding stimulus names. Because perceptually similar substances are confused in identification tasks, the result was a taste confusion matrix. Consistency of identification for the 10 stimuli ( T10) and for each stimulus pair (T2) was quantified with measures derived from information theory. Forty-two untrained subjects made an average of 57.4% correct identifications. An average T10 of 2.25 of the maximum 3.32 bits and an average T2 of 0.84 of a maximum 1.0 bit of information were transmitted. In a second experiment, 40 trained subjects performed better than 20 untrained subjects. The results suggested that the identification procedure may best be used to assess taste function following 1-2 training replicates. The patterns of taste confusion indicate that the 10 stimuli resemble one another to varying extents, yet each can be considered perceptually unique.[1]


  1. A confusion matrix for the study of taste perception. Hettinger, T.P., Gent, J.F., Marks, L.E., Frank, M.E. Perception & psychophysics. (1999) [Pubmed]
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