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Gustatory Cortex: Definition, Function & Location

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition and Anatomy courses for several years. He has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Furman University and a M.S. in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. He is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

The gustatory cortex is the area of the brain responsible for the sensation of taste. In this lesson, learn about the definition, location, and function of the gustatory cortex.

Gustatory Cortex

Think about your all-time favorite food. Maybe its pizza or ice cream or chocolate. Now think about biting into this food and having the amazing taste of this food fill your mouth. I bet your mouth is starting to water just thinking about it!

Tasting a favorite food is one of the best pleasures a person can experience, and you can thank your gustatory cortex for this pleasure. The gustatory cortex is the area of the brain responsible for the sensation of taste. Taste is the result of a complex network of nerves and nerve impulses that travel between the mouth and brain.

The gustatory cortex is the area of the brain that allows people to perceive tastes, such as this ice cream sundae.
ice cream sundae

Gustatory Cortex: Location

The gustatory cortex is located in cerebral cortex, which is the outer part of the brain. The gustatory cortex is made up of two small substructures that are found in two different lobes of the brain. These substructures are the anterior insula, located on the insular lobe, and the frontal operculum, on the frontal lobe. The insular lobe is found deep within the cerebral cortex, located under the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain, directly behind the forehead.

The gustatory cortex is found on both the frontal and insular lobes. The insular lobe is located deep in the brain, under the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes.

Gustatory Cortex: Function

As mentioned earlier, the gustatory cortex functions to give a person the perception of taste. The gustatory cortex works with the taste buds to create the taste sensation. The tongue is covered with taste buds, and taste buds in different areas of the tongue sense different types of flavors. For example, the taste buds for sweet tastes are located mostly near the tip of the tongue, while taste buds for bitter tastes are located near the back of the tongue.

There are a total of five different types of flavors, or tastes:

  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Bitter
  • Sour
  • Savory, or umani

Taste buds for sweet tastes, shown by the red dots, are located mostly at the tip of the tongue.
sweet taste buds

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