All illusions are based on a distorted, distorted, and therefore erroneous perception of real phenomena or objects. In other words, objects and phenomena are directly perceived, and their real real essence disappears.
Taste illusions, arising by themselves, are often not a sign of the disease, they are more of a concomitant phenomenon with some types of mental abnormalities.
In essence, taste flavors experts attribute to contrast illusions, for example, sometimes the taste sensations from one substance can affect the perception of subsequent taste sensations. So, the salt, dissolved in pure water, can give it a sour taste, and sucrose – bitterness.
To explain the nature of this type of illusion, scientists and physicians have put forward a large number of theories. So, for example, I. Rock argued that the most appropriate for this explanation is the science of gestalt psychology, since it reveals the fallacy of the hypothesis of the constancy of taste sensations.
According to this theory, illusions do not represent anything abnormal or unexpected, in other words, the perception of a person by phenomena or objects does not depend on a particular concrete stimulus, but on the interaction of all sensations.
Thus, the basis of taste illusions (as well as of all illusions) lies in the erroneous perception of real taste sensations and the subconscious replacement by other, completely different (or unimportant, familiar or unfamiliar) taste sensations under the influence of hidden unconscious factors.
In psychology and psychiatry, there are special methods of research, when a person instead of real familiar to him food offers visually different, but with a peculiar taste or smell.
And often a healthy person, clearly and clearly reveals thus illusory taste sensations. By the way, eastern cuisine, today very “fashionable” in Russia, is famous for its illusions of taste – giving the visitors fish, cooks are proud that she has a taste of meat, and, conversely.
Taste illusions of a sick person have, as a rule, unpleasant and negatively perceived taste sensations in the mouth, as with the intake of food or liquid, and outside the process of eating. In addition, food can be perceived by a sick person with an uncharacteristic taste sensation.
The illusion of taste is one of the most unexplored questions among all the varieties, both in patients and in healthy people, due to the fact that there is too thin a line between taste illusions and hallucinations, illusions and phenomena in disorders of the intestinal tract, manifestations and suggestibility.
Linda M. Bartoshuk from the University of Wales, (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery) in her work “The taste of taste, determined by contact” has tried to bring out the theory of fraudulent gustatory sensations. The main points of her work consist in the role of conscious distinction of smell and taste by a person (these concepts are inextricably linked) of food and liquids taken.
Any food or liquid, penetrating into the oral cavity, is, first of all, on the taste receptors of the tongue and palate. The notation of sensations for a person is divided into sweet, salty, acidic and bitter, simultaneously with their “recognition” of the receptors of the oral cavity, volatile lungs from food and liquids rise up the nasopharyngeal cavities, and in turn attain the olfactory receptors located under the the eye area.
All these qualitative olfactory sensations are the main responsible elements for the perception of food, that is, a person in the process of eating senses both taste concepts and the smell of food, a combination of these phenomena is called taste, while the mouth is considered the main point of its occurrence.
Linda M. Bartoszuk in his work proves that taste sensations arise from touching (contacts).That is, she claims that the taste sensations do not result from the interaction of food elements with the areas of certain specific taste receptors, but depend on their mechanical contact with different zones located in the oral cavity.
In this regard, at the time of food intake, taste sensations come from all points and receptors in the surfaces of the oral cavity, despite the fact that the actual taste receptors are only in specific zones.
This phenomenon arises due to the fact that the human brain, in the process of forming sensations of taste, “takes on” all information and information from the receptors of touch located in the mouth, at the time of direct contact with liquids and food.
At the slightest disturbance of brain activity caused not only by mental illness, but also by stress, affect, fear, arousal and other abnormal states, consciousness incorrectly “registers” its sensations, and a taste illusion arises.
The general name of all qualitative disorders and frauds of taste sensitivity is paraguevia (including dysgeusia, taste illusions and hallucinations of taste). When any neurological pathology arises, the symptoms of paragenezia (as a consequence of damage to the opercular region of the brain).
To types of violations of smell and taste (which occurs, as a rule, simultaneously) and taste illusions include:
– loss (both partial and complete) of taste or olfactory sensations;
– the loss of the relationship between a certain (well before known) smell, taste and typical, habitual for a person, the inherent quality for a particular food object;
– change to within, or vice versa (inversion) of familiar and familiar tastes and smells (previously perceived tastes or smells the person perceives as disgusting and vice versa).
In other words, all the taste and olfactory illusions take the character of a subjective change (inversion) of sensation (sometimes the sweet takes on the taste of sour, the fragrance can be perceived as a stench). Therefore, the taste illusion is very difficult to distinguish from the distorted taste sensations caused by the disease, for example, the liver (bitterness in the mouth, altered taste perception of food products).
In mental illness, illusions of taste play a minor role, they accompany some kinds of mental disorders. In these cases, illusions of taste can manifest not only as unpleasant sensations, but as sensations of a threatening nature.
The smell and taste of food and liquids can be perceived by the sick person as a poison, have the taste sensations of known poisons (especially for well-educated and educated people), the smell of carrion.
In terms of content and quality, taste illusions in a sick person are almost always unpleasant, complaining of suffocating gases, taste of excrement, acids, metals, cadaveric odor, etc. Very rarely such patients have taste illusions or delusions of pleasant smells.
A typical example is the illusion of taste in alcoholics at the time of the attack of white fever – taking for therapeutic purposes to soothe the solution of chloral hydrate and bromine, they are sure that they drink vodka.
The French psychiatrist Esquilol first suggested delimiting taste illusions and taste hallucinations, that is, to subdivide all the phenomena of deception of taste feelings into regions, but to this day this division remains rather conventional, since it is by no means always possible to determine the boundary between hallucinations and taste illusions.
This is easily explained by their manifestations – when hallucinations occur not only in the field of taste (but also in relation to sight and hearing), to diagnose insufficiently differentiated sensations and perception of smells, taste, touch, because the external stimuli can never be completely excluded. And when there are taste illusions, hallucinatory elements are always present.