banner 2. Measuring the emotional response to beer: The long and the short of it!

J. HORT (1), C. Eaton (1), C. Chaya (2), K. Smart (3); (1) University of Nottingham, Nottingham, U.K.; (2) Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain; (3) SABMiller, Woking, U.K.

Technical Session 1 - Sensory
Sunday, June 14
10:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Fiesta 3,4,6,8

Beer is an emotive product and understanding consumer emotional response has been shown to give greater insights into product differentiation beyond traditional measures of liking. However the sensory tools for measuring the emotional response to beer are limited. Verbal self-report measures available commonly include a long lexicon of emotion terms which inevitably increases the potential for consumer boredom and fatigue and typically they are not beer specific. This study assessed the effectiveness of a novel approach for reducing the number of terms in a beer-specific lexicon by comparing results obtained using both a full emotion lexicon and a reduced version. The relative ability of each lexicon to discriminate between beer samples and between different consumer groups (gender and age) was evaluated. The study utilized a consumer-led lexicon generated by 3 focus groups of 5–7 subjects (n = 17) in response to 10 beer samples. Three samples were assessed at a time and subjects were asked to describe how their emotional response to any one sample was different to the other two (triadic elicitation). The focus groups generated 43 emotion terms which were subsequently used by the 17 subjects to rate their emotional response to the 14 samples. Linguistic checks and cluster analysis were used to group terms into categories of similar emotions. Nine distinct emotion categories were identified. Consumers (n = 109) rated emotional response to the 14 samples using both the full (43 items, 1 line scale for each emotion term) and reduced lexicon (9 items, 1 line scale associated with each of the 9 emotion categories). Fifty-nine consumers used the full lexicon first, whereas the remaining fifty-two used the reduced form first. Encouragingly, multiple factor analysis indicated that the emotional spaces generated by both lexicons were comparable (RV coefficient = 0.791). Nevertheless, further analyses (ANOVA and post hoc multiple comparisons) revealed noteworthy differences concerning the level of discrimination between samples. In some instances e.g. nostalgia, the reduced form did not highlight subtle differences captured by the use of the full lexicon. However, for some emotions e.g. tame/safe, grouping of emotion terms on the reduced form led to increased discriminability across beers. The different lexicons had little effect on differences in emotional response across gender, but the full lexicon did highlight more differences across age groups. Further findings of interest will be discussed in the presentation. Whilst more detailed emotion information was potentially lost through the employment of the reduced form, consumers appeared to be able to use some emotion categories to more effectively discriminate between the samples. Therefore in commercial environments, a reduced emotion lexicon may be preferable given its relative similarity to the full form for sample discriminability and its significant savings in both time and resources. However, if the aim of emotional research is to differentiate between consumer segments, particularly between age groups, then it may be preferable to use a full emotion lexicon.

Joanne Hort is the SABMiller Chair in Sensory Science and Head of the International Centre for Brewing Science (ICBS) at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Originally Joanne established the Sensory Science Centre at the university, which is internationally renowned for its sensory research and training. After developing a passion to understand the complexity of beer flavor she is now applying her expertise to progress understanding concerning multisensory interactions, individual variation, temporal changes in flavor perception, and the emotional response to the sensory properties of beer. Her multidisciplinary approach combining analytical, brain imaging, and sensory techniques provides rich insights into beer flavor perception. Joanne leads ICBS, which has an international reputation for its brewing research and innovative postgraduate training programs. Joanne is a member of the editorial board for JASBC, Food Quality, and Preference, Chemosensory Perception, and Flavour. She is a member of ASBC and IBD and Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. She is the current chair of the European Sensory Science Society and past chair of the UK Professional Food Sensory Group. 

View Presentation