Why does something taste less sweet after eating something else that is sweet, especially if you don't drink water in-between.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! What research have you done before asking it here? $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Jun 15 '17 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ It happens for food of any taste, not only sweet. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jun 15 '17 at 10:51

It's a general flaw (IMO bad design) in organic/neural sensor frameworks where inputs tend to be measured relative to previous experience rather than absolute quantitative.

This happens with weights as well. There have been plenty of experiments where people are asked to pick up a heavy weight and then a light weight, then record/estimate the perceived light weight. The next day, they pick up a medium weight and then the same light weight and record the perceived light weight.

The 2nd recording turns out "heavier" because of relative perception.

Suggestion: Computer-mediated nerves designed to measure in absolutes.

  • $\begingroup$ Ugh, I can't disagree with you enough about it being a 'flaw.' Sensory adaptation is almost certainly a feature, not a flaw, and is incredibly well preserved across senses and species. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 15 '17 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ Downvote an otherwise fine answer just because you personally disagree with 1 part of it? pathetic... if relative measurements are a feature, perhaps all the measuring instruments you use should use relative measures, everything from weighing scales to CPU Hz configuration and the speedometer in your vehicle. While you're at it, perhaps your electricity and water meters should use relative measurements so you get a ridiculously large bill if your neighbor uses those utilities sparingly. Precision is a virtue, and mechanical precision is something that everyone should aspire to. $\endgroup$ – user1258361 Jun 15 '17 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Have you considered that organisms aren't solving the same problems that machines are? I'm not saying relative measurements are good for all things, I am saying they are useful in biology. I'm downvoting because I think your answer is wrong, because it contains no references or explanation the process, and doesn't even contain the word "adaptation" which is the term given to this process in sensory systems. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 15 '17 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ "Precision is a virtue, and mechanical precision is something that everyone should aspire to." - Citation needed. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jun 15 '17 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ If your keyboard ever stops typing the precise keys you press, I'm going to laugh. While relative measurements might be good enough for primitive animal life, modern civilized society requires mechanical precision. Example consequences of lack of precision: missing your highway exit and ending up in the wrong town, accidentally putting lower amounts of food/drink in commercial packages and bottles (infuriating customers), and screwing up a recipe because you couldn't measure the ingredients straight. $\endgroup$ – user1258361 Jun 15 '17 at 20:19

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