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Salient features and understandable language: applicative projects aimed at achieving a new understanding of consumers’ perceptual preferences.

Cognitive Metrix is a spin off project conceived by the EphPLab research group with the aim of satisfying the need for businesses to be able to access objective, scientific data about consumers in terms of the psychological aspects relating to their tastes, experiences, perceptions, emotions, motivations and expectations with respect to a target product or service. This is something which is extremely important for businesses since these are the aspects which guide purchasing behaviors, that is, which products consumers choose and then buy or which they avoid. Two main research programs have been developed thus far, both in relation to wine. They are being carried out in conjunction with the Veneto Region and a number of wine producers. Both projects are currently still ongoing and similar projects are planned in other product markets (e.g. in the footwear and textile sectors).

I) The first project aimed to explore non-experts’ understanding of the terms which are frequently used as descriptors of the sensory properties of wine. These terms can be found in guide books on Italian wine, in production specifications and in the official tasting scales of the Italian Sommeliers Association. What is a standard wine drinker’s understanding of these terms? Is the fact that the interpretation of experts and non-experts of these terms may be different compatible with the objective of effectively communicating the characteristics of the product? The results show the difference is, in fact, significant and we thus designed a series of studies to be carried out with adult participants in order to identify the basic dimensions relating to their sensory experience of wine. This was done with the aim of connecting the language used by standard wine consumers to the standardized expert lexicon.

II) A second project aimed to explore whether there is a relationship between the personality characteristics of standard wine consumers and their preferences for certain sensorial aspects. The results indicated that there were indeed a number of significant associations linking personality traits (assessed by means of the Big-Five inventory 2) and certain specific features relating to wine.

  1. Truong, H., Burro, R., & Bianchi, I. (2021). The sensorial experience of wine for non-experts: how the terms frequently used in Italian guidebooks are understood by standard consumers in Vietnam. Journal of Sensory Studies, 36 (4) e12656, DOI: 10.1111/joss.12656
  2. Bianchi, I., Branchini, E., Torquati, S., Fermani, A,, Capitani, E., Barnaba, V., Savardi, U. , & Burro, R.  (2021). Non experts’ understanding of terms frequently used by experts to describe the sensory properties of wine: an investigation based on opposites. Food Quality and Preference, 92.