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Individual differences in sensory preference can be reduced to a more fundamental set of “sensory preference segments.” These segments comprise individuals exhibiting similar preference profiles, either attitudinally (such as, similar stated sensory likes/dislikes) or behaviorally (such as, similar patterns relating overall liking to sensory intensity). Behavioral sensory segmentation based upon actual patterns relating liking to sensory intensity of attributes shows dramatic differences among the segments. Behavioral sensory segments are often polar opposites of each other. In contrast, segmentation based upon attitudes toward the sensory attributes of a product shows less divergent, more similar patterns. Behavioral sensory segmentation is thus the more powerful method by which to assess individual differences. It presents the possibility that there may exist “preference genotypes” in the population, and that the demographic variability often observed in consumer “taste tests” may result from different distributions of the same basic primary groups.
liking, segmentation, inverted U curves, hedonics, attitudes
President, Moskowitz Jacobs Inc., Valhalla, NY