Enjoyment of a wine correlates with its price

A study found that the enjoyment of a wine was directly
proportional to the price that was told to the participants, regardless
of actual price.
The news item is here:
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The article itself (requires academic access or subscription) is here:
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In short, they used 20 subjects, students at CalTech, that said
that they liked red wine and drank at least occasionally. They gave them
3 wines to try while in a fMRI machine - a $5, a $35, and a $90, but
presented them as 5 different wines: the $5 was presented as $5 and $45;
the $90 was presented as $10 and $90.
According to the fMRI, the subjects /really/ experienced pleasure
proportional to the price tag; they liked the $5 wine, when presented as
being $45, better than the $90 one when presented as $10, and better
than the $35. They liked the $5 when presented as $5 least, and the $90
when presented as $90 - most.
A very interesting and well done study, but my main critique is the
choice of test subjects. They were apparently quite unsophisticated wine
drinkers, because in the control experiment (where no price information
was provided) they actually liked the cheapest wine the best - no doubt
in my mind that it was the sweetest of the lot.
I'm very curious what the outcome of the study would be, if
conducted properly - that is, with test subject recruited from the
readership of this group. ;)
Reply to
Elko Tchernev
Here's direct link to the study
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Funny part is how wine was delivered through a tube so oxygenation couldn't be a factor. Don't list what $5, $35 & $90 cabs were,.
Reply to
DaleW wrote on Wed, 16 Jan 2008 07:04:41 -0800 (PST):
D> Here's direct link to the study D>
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Thanks for the link. I have not read it all as yet but wasn't the number of subjects (20) not a little small?
Mind you, I tend to agree with the general conclusions and environmentally modified conclusions are not confined to wine. I was once congratulated by an enthusiastic friend on finally getting a hi-fi system when it was only a table radio playing inside the bar! (I do have two reasonably good systems now.)
James Silverton Potomac, Maryland
E-mail, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not
Reply to
James Silverton
to the price tag; they liked the $5 wine, when presented as being $45, better
I haven't read the study yet, but it would seem to me that part o the pleasure of tasting a wine (I assume it was tasted rather than drunk with a meal) is tasting something that is normally out of range. No matter what it ¬tuallytastes like, just getting the opportunity to try a rare Chateau Upnose Reserve is worth something. Presentation also counts for a lot - the same food plopped down won't taste as good as one that is served with the finesse of a sushi chef. Pleasure is multisensory.
Reply to
I did read the study and I'm not a scientist but I have a problem with how or what they define as "enjoyment" as measured by some type of brain activity. I would guess that it would be hard to differentiate the cause of the changes in brain acitivity between perception of price versus pleasure and actual increase in pleasure. In other words was it the price point that caused the change or was it the perception of taste as a function of price? Did the wine taste better to the subjects at various price points or did their brain percieve that it should taste better at a higher price point? My guess is that if they gave the subjects wine, told them the prices and asked them to rate the wine that they would rate the most expensive wine higher than the least expensive wine even though they were the same wine.
Reply to
Hello Even the hyperborean barbars were reached by the dread news ... You know, the newbie course in the Swedish Tastevin Society does teach you how to differentiate a high quality plonk from a low quality (among other things). It is the final exam: two whites, two reds, tell which white and which red is the highendian one. A test few do not pass. We are of course talking Swedes here: it might not be applicable on humans. Nevertheless. Cheers Nils
Reply to
Nils Gustaf Lindgren
Along the same vein, what most are missing is that the subjects are Cal Tech students. While my nephew is there, I find most a little weird.
Reply to
---- snip ---
If you read the file in the link above, you encounter the following statement:
"The subjects were instructed to hold the output tube between their lips like a straw while they lied in a supine position in the scanner."
It could make you doubt the truthfulness of the subjects :
Reply to
Donald Eagle
For my part, I tend to get the most enjoyment when I find a cheap diamond-in-the-rough. I was probably the most disappointed when I tried a somewhat bland Barolo made by Marchesi. That was the worst US $30 I ever spent. The same wine probably would seemed passable if I had spent US$5 on it.
Dan-O (going against the grain)
Reply to
Dan the Man
In article , snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...
Now, not in the vein of the "test," but at a recent Cab tasting with Caymus (not SS), Groth (not Red Stripe), Far Niente, and a few others, my favorite was the Signorello Edge @ US$15. Reminded me of 2er Cru Bdx. and I bought a case. Now, I knew which wines were in the lineup, just not what was being poured. I did not see a price tag on each bottle, but think I still would have chosen this one, regardless of price. I might have awarded more stars, points, or whatever, to the big-guys, had each btl. had a sticker with the MSLP, but I doubt it. If it's good wine, I like it better, than poor wine with a big sticker, or pedigree.
Reply to
In article , snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...
I hae to agre with this but in my case my enjoyment is considerably increased if I think I‘ve got a real bargain rather than if I think I‘m being ripped off!
Tim Hartley
Reply to
Timothy Hartley

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