David Pittman, Ph.D.


knowledge1            our research program1

Our research objective is to characterize a NEW TASTE SENSATION for dietary fat.  We are interested in understanding how fatty acids (the chemicals in dietary fat) affect the taste system in a rat animal model.  In other words, we use controlled scientific methods to study if taste is a reason that people prefer to eat high fat foods.

Areas of research focus include behavioral studies designed to determine the fatty acid detection threshold for rats, the ability of rats to discriminate between fatty acids, and the ability of fatty acids to interact with other tastants in order to better understand how we detect fat and how fat affects other tastes; nerve transection studies designed to selectively identify necessary and sufficient afferent neural pathways involved in the orosensory detection of free fatty acids in order to identify the neural pathway from the mouth to the brain; and electrophysiological recordings designed to characterize the afferent neural code produced by orosensory stimulation by free fatty acids in order to understand how neural signals from the mouth to the brain produce the sensations and perceptions of eating high fat foods.

new line of research:  drugs affect taste


Please use the below links to explore our work:
  summary research
current research
  free fatty acid
free fatty acid
  research facilities people  

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The laboratory of Dr. Dave Pittman
Associate Professor of Psychology, Wofford College
429 N. Church Street, Spartanburg, SC  29303