How does an “Acquired taste” work?


When I first tried root beer I hated it, but overtime loved it. Same thing with regular beer. How does this work? Why does something we hated suddenly become appealing?

In: Biology

We are naturally not liking certain tastes. This is a mechanism in order to prevent us from eating poison or otherwise dangerous foods. Some is natural like hating things that are bitter, sour or too salty but it is also possible to learn to dislike certain tastes, especially when you are young. However when you find out that these things are not hurting you and in fact is quite good you ignore that basic instinct you had when it comes to that particular combination of flavors. So while you initially react to beer due to it being very bitter you overcome that issue over time as you find out that it is not killing you but in fact gives you calories and a good feeling. However you still dislike other bitter things like stale food.

The brain is very adaptive. Certain tastes the brain interprets that they should be avoided because they are new and potentially hazardous to the body. However the brain is predisposed to want to be “happy”. So if you regularly expose yourself to these types of tastes and learn nothing bad is happening then the brain will turn those “warning” feelings into “happy” feelings as that is the preferred feeling.