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Wine Conundrum #1

Sensory scientists have always suspected that the order in which you taste wines affects your judgment of them. In 2009, Canadian research confirmed the idea.  As reported in A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science , Antonia Mantonakis, Ph.D. of Brock University in Ontario, Canada, and her colleagues hadvolunteers taste two, three, four, or five blinded wines, and select their favorite. Some volunteers were novices others wine professionals. Unbeknownst to the participants, all of the wine samples were identical. Every group of volunteers preferred wine #1 over wines #2 and #3. However, among wine experts in the study who tried four or five samples, there was also a “recency effect”—that is, wine #5 was preferred over #4 and #3. Dr. Mantonakis believes that her study suggests that connoisseurs may compare wines in such a way that each new wine has a chance to beat the current favorite (setting up the possibility of selecting the last sample). Novice wine drinkers, on the other hand, get overwhelmed with choices early on, and feel happy sticking by wine number one.

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