This chapter reviews (1) the sensory attributes with which the book is concerned, e.g., the
appearance, odor, ﬂavor, and feel of different products and (2) the mechanisms that people
use to perceive those attributes, e.g., the visual, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile/kinesthetic
senses. The briefness of the chapter is dictated by the scope of the book, and it is not an
indication of the importance of the subject. The sensory professional is urged to study the
references to this chapter, for example the following: Amerine, Pangborn, and Roessler
1965; ASTM 1968; Civille and Lyon 1996; Lawless and Heymann 1998, and stone and Sidel
2004, and to build a good library of books and journals on sensory perception.
Sensory testing is an inexact science. Experimental designs need to be based on a thorough
knowledge of the physical and chemical factors behind the attributes of interest.
Results of sensory tests, as a rule, have many possible explanations, and the chances of
misinterpretation can be reduced by every bit of new knowledge about the workings
of human’s senses and the true nature of product attributes.