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In RoboCop (2014), RoboCop tastes something in his mouth during brain surgery.

It tastes like peanut butter.

He is not eating any food. The surgery creates the experience of a phantom taste. Does this happen in real life?

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    How is this question about movies? – DaG Jun 7 '17 at 22:18
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    it's about realism, hence the realism – Luciano Jun 8 '17 at 7:54
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Roughly speaking, taste is captured in our mouth but the signals are interpreted by our brain. Since Murphy is awake while the doctor pokes his brain (if he is poking the Gustatory cortex) it is possible that he induced the sensation of a specific taste.

as mentioned by @Mazura, Neurosurgeons at the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center perform many brain tumor procedures while the patient is awake.

During surgery, the neurosurgeon will stimulate the area around the tumor with small electrodes. To precisely locate the functional areas of the brain that must be avoided, the neurosurgeon will ask the patient to perform tasks such as talking, counting and looking at pictures.

In the same way, the doctor could also ask the patient about taste and smell.

It seems that brain injuries or traumas can also cause changes in the sense of smell and taste.

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    Doctor, I smell burnt toast youtube.com/watch?v=mSN86kphL68 – 3Doubloons Jun 7 '17 at 19:47
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    Long ago I saw a documentary where they were electrostimulating a patient's brain to guide the surgeon (that's why you're sometimes awake during brain surgery). At one point the patient reported either the taste or the smell of oranges. You're liable to evoke all sorts of things when you stick a conductive piece of metal into a brain, electrified or not. – Mazura Jun 7 '17 at 22:15
  • "During surgery, the neurosurgeon will stimulate the area around the tumor with small electrodes. To precisely locate the functional areas of the brain that must be avoided, the neurosurgeon will ask the patient to perform tasks such as talking, counting and looking at pictures." (John Hopkins) ... and I guess, whether or not they smell PB&J (it works; don't cut that part out!). – Mazura Jun 7 '17 at 22:19
  • @Mazura good one! I've seen something similar, but since it's a vague memory I didn't mention in my answer. will add your sources – Luciano Jun 8 '17 at 7:56
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    brain injuries or traumas change sense of taste. I remember drinking tea with some soldiers, and the following exchange happened: "Is there sugar in my tea?" "Yeah, sorry, shall I make you another one?" "Nah, don't worry, I lost me sense of taste when I got that kicking in Portsmouth" ... "So how did you know there was sugar in it?" "I can feel it on my teeth". O_o – Grimm The Opiner Jun 8 '17 at 11:54

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