Can a Taste Make Your Heart Race?

By Laura Hospitál on Jun 03, 2016

This science project was done by Alexandra, who is a student at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).


What is the effect of different tastes on heartrate?


Sour taste will raise heartrate most


  • pickles – not sweet
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • dark chocolate – high cacao percent
  • jalepeno Cheetos
  • talking heartrate monitor
  • small plates


  1. Prepare samples for each participant (3g of each)
    1. pickles for sour taste
    2. chocolate chip cookies for sweet taste
    3. dark chocolate for bitter taste
    4. jalepeno cheetos for spicy taste
  2. Pass out the pickle sample to all participants but ask them not to eat yet.
  3. Starting with the first participant, take a resting heart rate using the heart rate monitor.
  4. Record the resting heart rate.
  5. Leave the monitor on his/her finger.
  6. Have the student begin eating the pickle
  7. Time 15 seconds and take the heart rate again.
  8. Record the heart rate.
  9. Repeat steps 2 -8 for each sample and record data
  10. Analyze the data and make a conclusion.

Student having heart rate tested


My hypothesis was correct because the pickles raised heart rate the most.


  • Different foods could be chosen for sour, sweet, spicy and bitter tastes. 

NGSS Standards:

Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (HS-ESS2-5)


Pinterest collage for change in heart rate

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