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The determination of user-wants and their measurement is not a simple problem. This paper and this symposium will introduce an area which is not clearly defined as to its extent nor as to all of the significant variables. The data now existing in this field are limited in their representativeness. The general principles which are relevant require more elaboration and more confirming studies. That basic research in this area has been initiated and supported by the Office of the Quartermaster General is, in my opinion, a significant indication of the breadth of interest and willingness of this office to consider all possible contributions to the effectiveness of the mission of the Corps. The purpose of this presentation is to outline a range of problems and hypotheses which will lead to productive findings in the analysis of user acceptability of items of personal equipment. It is my belief that objective investigation of the psychological problems of user-wants can contribute to the over-all effectiveness of user-equipment performance. Let me trace some background. In December 1948, the Director of Research of the Food and Container Institute, Mr. Gelman, stated in a paper presented to the Research and Development Board of the Military Establishment the following: “During the past war Army personnel were provided with rations which were the best that could be assembled under the conditions which obtained at the time. These rations were complete ⃨ The items ⃨ had passed inspection tests including, in many instances, chemical examination for composition as regards nutrients, and microbiological tests for sanitation. However, in spite of these facts (which were probably not known nor cared about by the men), many ration items were refused by the soldiers, certain of them being almost universally rejected, others were consumed in limited amounts, and others at infrequent intervals. The nutritional program therefore fell short of assuring the Armed Forces a complete, well-balanced diet, and clearly indicated that the methods and criteria used in choosing items with which to make up rations were inadequate ⃨ The essential factor which had been neglected was that of acceptability. It was obvious from the experiences of the past war that in developing the most adequate rations this characteristic must be evaluated before placing a food item in a ration.”
Schaefer, Willis C.