• Saliva. Perception. Ingestion. Tongues.

    Department of Nutrition Science

  • Food should taste good.

    Even when it’s healthy for you.

    Even when you aren’t healthy.

    For our latest work, click the Science - Ongoing or Published Science tabs

    Dr. Running speaks to some young adults about the science of taste and flavor.

    That’s what we believe at the SPIT Lab. Our research focuses on uses the sensations, secretions, and psychology of what happens in the mouth to try and make good food a reality for everyone—not just the young, the healthy, the wealthy, and the culinary-inclined.


    We’re what you call psychophysicists. And sensory scientists. And hungry people.

  • Our tools of science

    This is how we do it...

    Stylized "S" with droplet of liquid


    Biochemical media of the mouth

    All that taste and flavor you get from your food? Spit messes with it. So, we're messing with spit to see if we can exploit it to make maintaining a healthy diet easier--and tastier!

    Stylized "P" with a brain image


    Feelings. Something more than feelings.

    While the chemistry of the mouth and nose are the front end of the flavor experience, all those signals are integrated in the brain. What you think and believe can then alter that flavor, sometimes more strongly than you'd expect!

    Stylized "I" with a mouth, esophagus, and stomach


    Eat it. Just eat it.

    After you eat , other signals from your gut, brain, and rest of the body can influence your expectations for that food in the future. Plus, the way you ate the food (fast or slow, chewed or not) could change the digestion process.

    Stylized "T" with a tongue


    Gross, but awesome.

    Do you have a long tongue? A hairy tongue? A tongue with lots of grooves? We want to know how the basic shape of your tongues surface might change the way you experience food.