Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wine drinkers unable to tell the difference between expensive and cheapwines

According to a study released today by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, people are unable to tell the difference between expensive and inexpensive wines.

A total pf 578 participants at the Edinburgh Science Festival took part in a 'blind' taste challenge. They were offered a range of red and white wines costing less then £5 and other vintages prices between £10 and £30.

Purely by the laws of chance, they should have been able to make a correct guess 50 per cent of the time.

This was exactly the level of accuracy seen, demonstrating that the volunteers could not distinguish between wines by taste alone.

Professor Wiseman said: “These are remarkable results. People were unable to tell expensive from inexpensive wines.

“In these times of financial hardship the message is clear - the inexpensive wines tasted the same as their expensive counterparts.”

The wines tested included cheap and expensive brands of sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, chardonnay, ­merlot, rioja, shiraz and claret. Two champagne labels costing £17.61 and £29.99 were also compared.

Read more

6 comments:

  1. Can we have the full scientific study report please.

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  2. From what I gather, it would seem that nobody was given two wines to taste - rather just one and then asked is it under £5 or more expensive. So there was no control, no comparison ... just crap science and no result that was worth publishing - and yet it was published and totally misled journalists and therefore many readers. Is this what UH is all about???? I think not. Disgracegful science, disgraceful PR, disgraceful journalism.

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  3. Professor Richard Wiseman comments: "Thank you for your comment. During the test people were asked to taste one of two wines. Both of the wines were of a certain type (e.g., claret) and from the same country, but one was inexpensive (less than £5) and one was more expensive (about £10). They were asked to try and classify the wine as either expensive or inexpensive. The results form the 6 types of wines that we tried all hovered around the 50% mark, which is consistent with chance. The test was designed to be as realistic as possible, and tackle this issue of whether ordinary members of the public can identify more expensive from less expensive wine. As such, it involved the types of wines commonly bought at supermarkets (mainly the co-op to avoid issues surround price inflation), and them just tasting one wine. A control condition was not needed as chance baseline at 50% acted as the control. Given the results were consistent with chance, we believe that we are correct in concluding that the sample of nearly 600 members of the public were unable to correctly classify the wines used in the study."

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  4. Professor Richard Wiseman responds: "We do not have a full report written up as yet, but we will get in touch when we do."

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  5. So was each member of the public given a sample of each of the expensive and the cheap and asked to differentiate or just a sample of one of the two possibilities ?
    Why did you have so many categories ?  With 16 different wines your sample size becomes a bit of a problem ?

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  6. Professor Richard Wiseman responded: "Thank you for your comment. During the test people were asked to taste one of two wines. Both of the wines were of a certain type (e.g., claret) and from the same country, but one was inexpensive (less than £5) and one was more expensive (about £10). They were asked to try and classify the wine as either expensive or inexpensive. The results form the 6 types of wines that we tried all hovered around the 50% mark, which is consistent with chance. The test was designed to be as realistic as possible, and tackle this issue of whether ordinary members of the public can identify more expensive from less expensive wine. As such, it involved the types of wines commonly bought at supermarkets (mainly the co-op to avoid issues surround price inflation), and them just tasting one wine. A control condition was not needed as chance baseline at 50% acted as the control. Given the results were consistent with chance, we believe that we are correct in concluding that the sample of nearly 600 members of the public were unable to correctly classify the wines used in the study."

    ReplyDelete