Ten Big Ideas in Sensory Science & Product Development

(Webinar length:  1h 07m)


Understanding human perception is one key to making successful new products.  Yet often researchers and food technologists lose sight of some of the basic principles of human sensory function and sensation-driven consumer behavior.  This seminar outlines ten fundamental ideas that need to be considered in constructing products with the human senses in mind. 

The first four concern basic sensory function.  First, human response is nonlinear.  Second, sensory response is non-uniform.  Individual differences abound.  Third, perception is time-dependent.  Fourth, perception is interactive and combinatorial.  Variables must be studied in combination, not singly.

The next three concern consumer behavior.  Fifth, consumer hedonic reactions vary widely.  Segmentation is the rule.  Sixth, consumer perception is integrative, while sensory panels are generally analytical.  Seventh, consumer behavior has its foibles.  They are unpredictable, sometimes wacky.  Curious examples will be provided.

The final three concern product development, specifically.  Eighth, successful products often have contrasting sensory attributes (especially textural contrast).  The ninth item is a rule:  don’t overlook the obvious.  Finally, the tenth principle says that successful innovation is a struggle between familiarity and invention (novelty), as understood by Vivaldi in 1726 (Il cimento dell’armonia i dell’inventione).  Once again, consumer differences come into play.  Some show variety-seeking tendencies while others have neophobia.

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the basic principles of psychophysical and sensory function
  • To understand human variability and diversity in sensory response and preferences
  • To understand some consistent tendencies and foibles of consumer behavior
  • To understand keys to successful product development

Who will benefit from this webinar:

  • Sensory Evaluation Professionals
  • Product Developers & Development Scientists
  • Researchers and Brand Managers involved in cost reduction and margin management
  • Marketing Managers and Marketing Research Specialists
  • R&D executives involved in strategic decisions
  • Statisticians and Statistical Support Personnel
  • Dieticians and Nutritionists
  • Research Chefs and Culinary Professionals
  • Consumer Insights and Product Guidance Researchers

Presenter--Dr. Harry Lawless

Dr. Harry Lawless is Professor Emeritus of Food Science at Cornell University , where he has taught sensory evaluation and flavor sciencefor 22 years. He is internationally recognized as a leading authority in sensory testing of foods and taste and smell research. Dr. Lawless is co-author of the leading textbook in sensory testing: Sensory Evaluation of Foods, Principles and Practices with Dr. Hildegarde Heymann of the University of California, Davis. Dr. Lawless received his PhD from Brown University and BA from Yale. He is the author of over 200 scientific papers and technical articles. During his professional career he has worked at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, S. C. Johnson Wax, General Mills, General Foods, Peryam and Kroll Research and the U. S. Army Natick Food Laboratories.

  • Item #: 1206cTenBig
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Price $289.00