Measuring Temporal Perceptions
ASTM International’s sensory evaluation committee (E18) is developing a proposed standard that will outline procedures for measurement of time-related (temporal) perceptions in consumer interactions with products.
“Every consumer interaction with a product or experience has a temporal dimension,” says ASTM member Chris Findlay, an independent consultant. “It doesn’t matter if it is the subtle change in perception when savoring a fine wine or the crunchiness and spiciness of taco chips, sensory experience changes over time. Some changes are simple like a soda losing carbonation after being poured into a glass, while other changes are more complex, such as candies that are designed to release different flavors as you eat them.”
Findlay notes that it’s important to be able to measure the appearance and disappearance of attributes as the product is consumed. As an example, Findlay cites high intensity sweeteners in which tastes such as bitterness can emerge, creating challenges for product developers.
“Conventional wisdom says if you can’t measure it, you can manage it,” says Findlay. “The proposed standard will provide researchers with the measurement tools that can help provide answers.”
According to Findlay, product developers who are trying to create a time-related consumer experience will find the proposed standard (WK62959) useful in measuring their progress. In addition, the proposed standard could be used as a tool to solve product performance problems that can only by measured by a dynamic method.
“This area is relatively new and the methods are still being developed,” says Findlay. “The subcommittee would welcome interested researchers who wish to contribute. Current research, both academic and applied, would be valuable to the future of this proposed standard.”
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