Wine tasting seems to be more engaging for the brain than any other human behavior. Or, at least this is what findings of a US neuroscientist indicate.
Yale neuroscientist, Gordon Shepherd, notes that from the first view of a wine bottle to its manipulation in the mouth and then the swallowing, there’s a huge range of sensory, motor, and central brain system actions taking part.
All of them together seem to provide more brain activity than the activity of listening to music or solving complex math tasks, according to Shepherd’s book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine.
Wine Tasting: More Brain Benefits than Math & Music?
In his book, Shepherd analyzes the complex neural processes that take part in the appreciation and tasting of wine, including the visual bottle assessment and wine in the glass, as well as the play between the oxygen, liquid, and saliva happening in the mouth.
This process also includes complex jaw, tongue, throat, and diaphragm movements.
What’s more, the wine molecules stimulate a long list of odor and taste receptors. They send flavor signals to our brains and this results in a massive cognitive calculation, that is, recognition of patterns, memory, emotion, pleasure, and value judgment.
Math problems demand a limited brain activity; on the other hand, wine tasting and assessment of wine require so many more sensory systems to take part, including tasting, smelling, and seeing.
The findings of Shepherd published in his book came after a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience which argued that Master Sommeliers need plenty of mental agility and thus, have thicker sensory brain parts.
Our Brain Creates Everything We See & Feel
According to Shepherd, our brain creates our sensory world.
For example, color doesn’t exist in the objects we look at.
Whether something is black or pink for us is how the light hits the object and how the wavelengths of light stimulate the brain circuits, which we’ve identified as colors.
In a similar manner, the molecules from food and wine won’t have a flavor themselves; however, it’s a perception of flavor that our sensory systems form.
But, what differs in taste compared to the other senses is the participation of so many different systems and sensory processes. Therefore, whenever you have to choose an activity that’s brain stimulating and enjoyable, wine tasting seems like the best option out there!