Gender and Reproductive State Correlates of Taste Perception in Humans

  • Richard L. Doty


It is well documented that numerous physiological and psychological processes of mammals are directly or indirectly related to circulating levels of reproductive hormones (e.g., Beach, 1947; Brobeck, Wheatland, and Stominger, 1947; Carr, Loeb, and Dissinger, 1965; Crocker, 1971; Doty, 1972; Komisaruk, Adler, and Hutchison, 1974; Pietras and Moulton, 1974). In humans, such relations are perhaps most clearly exemplified by studies undertaken during various phases of the menstrual cycle. A representative sample of variables which reportedly change systematically across these phases includes body temperature, blood pressure, respiratory efficiency, hemolysis, lymphocytosis, serum albumin, serum globulin, carbohydrate tolerance, urine volume, mucus consistency, immune reactivity, salt retention, circulating vitamin levels, depression, anxiety, and elation (see review by Southam and Gonzaga, 1965). Although a number of the studies reporting such fluctuations can be faulted on methodological grounds, the evidence for general metabolic and physiologic influences of gonadal hormones in humans is overwhelming. This evidence, along with anecdotal reports of changes in smell and taste perception during periods of heightened endocrine output, such as pregnancy, lend credence to the hypothesis that human sensory processes may be significantly affected by the level of reproductive hormones.


Menstrual Cycle Human Reproduction Taste Preference Menstrual Cycle Phase Taste Perception 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Doty
    • 1
  1. 1.Monell Chemical Senses Center and Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human CommunicationUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical SchoolPhiladelphiaUSA

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