Preconception and Perception

One of my biggest points in evaluating your experiments is knowing how to not fool yourself by letting what you think you know interfere with what you’re trying to find out. Listening to an old podcast of America’s Test Kitchen on my drive home last night, I learned about wine tastings conducted by Frederic Brochet. In a nutshell, in one tasting he served 2 glasses of the same white wine, only one was dyed red. Tasters proceeded to describe definite differences between the wines. In another, he took high and low priced bottles of wine, poured them ut, then refilled them both with the same mid proced wine. Again, tasters found definite differences. His conclusion was basically that it’s in your head, not the bottle. While that may be debatable, the point is that preconception guides perception. A concept I’ll write about (again and again) in the book. In the meantime, here’s a bit more about Brochet’s tests….