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A Process Perspective to Understand Hedonics

Ennis, D. M. (2016). A Process Perspective to Understand Hedonics. IFPress, 19(3) 3-4.



People have always formulated explanations for what they observe. These observations can be classified as superstition, pseudoscience, alchemy, and non-process and process models falling under the general classification of engineering and science. Non-process models are based on heuristics or ease of use; process models are based on theoretical processes which underlie the observables such as germ theory as opposed to “the humors,” which was the basis for bloodletting. Sometimes ideas last for centuries, but can be washed away in a tide of change in a few years. Changes that occurred after Pasteur conducted his sterilization experiments gave birth to the science of microbiology. Process models are constructed using interpretable parameters and have the greatest chance of providing a basis for new thinking and new discoveries. This technical report, by examining models used to represent hedonic observations, will recommend practitioners base their conclusions on process-based models.


Figure 1. Coombs’ process model explains how liking data arise based on the concept of an ideal point. Liking increases with sweetness to a satiety point and then decreases.

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