There is no conception in man's mind
which hath not at first, totally or in parts,
been begotten upon by the organs of sense.
---Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651

Friday, March 26, 2010


No, not what I've been doing for the past few months.

Napping is the method that I've been investigating for the past 3 years. Last fall I was invited to a large food company to give a presentation on the Napping method to their sensory department. As part of the presentation my lab mate and I developed this video to demonstrate the method (and I just decided to figure out youtube).

This is from the subject's perspective. Subjects are asked to taste each sample and place it on the paper such that distance represents similarity. Objects placed close to each other are more similar, and objects placed further away are more dissimilar. Similarity criteria is not dictated, as part of the beauty of the method is that it draws out those attributes that drive the perception of the product space. After the test, the subject writes down some words that describe each individual stimulus.

Finally, using fancy statistics (not shown!) we combine everyone's responses together to create the kind of perceptual map that is pictured here.