Thursday, January 24, 2008

Perfume Sniffing and Wine Tasting -- and Expertise

In Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999) Justice Breyer spoke of a hypothetical "perfume tester [who, Breyer intimated, might be] able to distinguish among 140 odors at a sniff."

On the Leonard Lopate show on WNYC radio, on January 23, 2008, a guest described a study that showed that wine testers invariably thought that wines they thought were more expensive tasted better than wines that the tasters thought were less expensive. The WNYC web site summarized the story this way:

A recent study shows that raising the price of wine makes it taste better. When tasting wines they’d been told cost more, testers’ brains showed more pleasure than when drinking cheaper wines…even when the wines were exactly the same! The study’s lead author is California Institute of Technology economics professor Antonio Rangel.
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