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of Michigan (17) and Roger Shepard at Bell Laboratories (18) alternate ways to derive these "fundamental dimensions" were developed. They developed statistical procedures known as "proximities analysis." Rather than instructing panelists to rate the samples on predefined scales, panelists rated (or ranked) the perceived "distance" or dissimilarity of pairs of stimuli. Either the actual ratings of "distance" or the rank order of dissimilarity between pairs were processed to yield the basic set of dimensions. The analysis produced a geometrical map in which the stimuli could be placed. Distances between pairs of stimuli in this geometrical map correspond to subjective dissimilarity between the pairs of stimuli.

Overall multivariate techniques nicely display dissimilarities between different stimuli. The data plots show which stimuli are similar and which are different, as well as an idea of the nature of dimensions. As a method for uncovering basic sensory dimensions, however the statistical procedures have not lived up to their promise. They have found use primarily as devices for data reduction of many attributes to a simple set.

Descriptor Systems for Sensory Analysis—Their Outlook

Historically, descriptor systems began as a method to learn how the senses work. The Linnean approach (classification as a way to understand the physiology of the senses), gave way to description as a way to understand products. Today we have available many systems, appropriate either when we desire a "ready made" descriptor system, or when we need to target a descriptor system to a specific product.

We can best understand the future of descriptive analysis from the problems which it helps to solve.

Table 4. Examples of Attribute Profiles for a Variety of Odorants

Experienced panelist Inexperienced panelist

Table 4. Examples of Attribute Profiles for a Variety of Odorants

Experienced panelist Inexperienced panelist

Fragrant

2.6 (13/15)

Light

2.3 (12/20)

Sweet

1.8 (12/15)

Fragrant

2.0 (13/20)

Floral

1.3 (12/15)

Sweet

1.9 (11/20)

Musklike

1.0 (6/15)

Floral

1.8 (11/20)

Dry, powdery

0.7 (7/15)

Dry, powdery

1.2 (8/20)

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