Oral sensory discrimination of fluid viscosity

Christina H. Smith, Jerilyn A. Logemann*, Wesley R. Burghardt, Thomas D. Carrell, Steven G. Zecker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study was designed to investigate the ability of normal young adult volunteers to sensorially identify Newtonian fluids of specified viscosities. Twenty subjects, 10 men and 10 women between the ages of 18 and 29 years participated. Seven stimuli, consisting of combinations of corn syrup and water, with viscosities ranging from 2 to 2,240 centipoise (cP) were prepared and characterized using a coaxial rotational viscometer. Subjects were presented with two anchor stimuli representing the extremes of the range of viscosities as a basis from which the experimental stimuli were judged. The seven experimental stimuli were randomly presented to each subject 10 times. The accuracy with which the subjects identified the viscosity of the fluid was significant at p < 0.01. The pattern of response was not significantly different across subjects nor gender. There were no differences in performance throughout the duration of the study. The repeat presentation of the anchor points did not significantly affect performance. Further research on oral perception of viscosity, and the processes that mediate changes in swallow physiology resulting from changes in viscosity is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Bolus viscosity
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Oral perception
  • Oropharyngeal
  • Swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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