IB TOK real life situation: Could you always taste the difference between cheese and chocolate?

In TOK, sense perception is one of the ‘knowledge tools’ or ‘ways of knowing’ (in addition to emotion, reason and language). Our brains actively interpret the sense data they receive from our sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, rather than just passively receiving information. The sense of taste is often neglected in TOK discussions, so this experiment is intended to redress the imbalance.

Here’s a practical TOK experiment to do with sense perception that you can put to the test.

Hypothesis: What people taste depends on the context of the food they are presented with.

You need:

1.      Cream Crackers (savoury biscuits for eating with cheese)

2.      A bar of white chocolate

3.      A cheese grater

4.      Some willing volunteers to take part in your TOK experiment who think that they are going to taste some cheese.

Grate the white chocolate in advance. Place the grated chocolate on top of the cracker and present it to your volunteers as if it is cheese.

Notice your volunteers’ response to the taste.

It is possible that some people taste cheese initially (even though they are eating chocolate) because their brain expects the flavour to be savoury given the context of what they are eating. However, they might guess it’s chocolate straight away. Please let us know your results by adding a comment.

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