Dr Hal MacFie

Consultant in Sensory & Consumer Science

Hal MacFie Training Services
Company Registration No: 7864651
Company Address: 43 Manor Road
Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1RB, UK
Contact Tel: (44) 0117 9863590

About Us!


This two day course reflects Professor O’Mahony’s interest in the psychological aspects of consumer testing and its relation to consumer choice in the marketplace. The course will examine the key questions in consumer science. The measures used for consumer preference, liking and emotion will be examined critically in terms of their psychology. What liking and emotions questions really tell us about predicting consumer behavior in the marketplace?  What does the consumer’s brain do when answering liking, preference and emotion questions? How does it process the necessary information? How does knowledge of this allow us to design more meaningful test methods?  Should some of the well-used traditional measures be quietly put to rest? Can we do better? What better methods are available?  Can you get scaling data without scaling? Should emotions really be such a hot topic? What is the best approach to predicting consumer choice? What are the other guys doing? The course will present new ideas and will be interactive with illustrative examples.

Professor Michael O’Mahony

10 - 11 October 2018
Venue: Paris France
To be announced

Course Organiser
Hal MacFie
For details and registration e-mail:


Michael O’Mahony is a professor in the in the Department of Food Science and Technology, at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Sensory Evaluation of Food: Statistical Methods and Procedures and over 200 published journal articles and book chapters. A consultant to the food industry in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea and China, he is also a popular lecturer in America, Asia and Europe where he is recognized for his ability to communicate concepts in a way that is easily understood. He is an enthusiastic and entertaining speaker.

Day 1 Course Introductions

  • A Psychologist’s perspective.
  • Sophisticated statistics, unsophisticated measurements.
  • Good, bad and compromise measures of consumer behavior. What should we do?
  • Sensory input. How the brain protects against information overload.
  • Sensory output. How cognitive subroutines protect against cognitive overload.
  • A test for thinking fast and thinking slow. How this affects sensory measurement.
  • Responding on auto pilot.
  • How the goals of sensory science affect the methods.


  • Old questions: the question of the ‘No Preference’ option.
  • Old questions: HUT vs CLT. Soymilk.
  • What are the data? Test vs operational preferences.
  • Don’t confuse discrimination with preference.
  • Why do consumers report preferences when the products are ‘identical’?
  • Use of placebo pairs; statistical testing and consumer selection.
  • Why do consumers give false preferences? Fast thinking?
  • Which consumers have the strongest preference bias? Cultural differences.
  • Thinking fast in preference tests. Neal’s popcorn experiment.
  • New tests that avoid the problems of response bias.
  • Can test preferences predict operational preferences?
  • Liking, Buying, Choosing and Take Away preferences and Auctions.
  • The effects of extraneous variables. Are they a clue to preference change.
  • How would this affect marketing strategies?
  • Engaging the consumer. Quantitative vs qualitative.
  • Ignoring the necessity for validation.

Day 2


  • How do consumers generate numbers? What happens in the brain and why is it important?
  • What type of numbers do you get from scaling?
  • Sophisticated statistics, unsophisticated measurements.
  • Relative vs Absolute models and the use of the wrong model for consumers.
  • Rank-Rating versus Serial Monadic protocols.
  • The effects of memory distortion and forgetting.
  • Various hedonic scales: 9-point, LAM, LIM, action scales.
  • The 9-point hedonic scale: are we using the best analysis?
  • Precise and imprecise scales. It is fine if you know which is which
  • When should hedonic scales be precise?
  • Are words and numbers interchangeable? Nodal effects.
  • Alternative analyses for the 9-point hedonic scale.
  • How should you use pure numerical scales?
  • Hedonic ranking: R-Index analysis and its advantages.
  • Using consumers’ inherent skills for measurement.
  • How many products can you rank. Too many stimuli? Two-stage ranking.
  • Pangborn’s preference problem, cross-cultural range bias.
  • How R-Index ranking is culture free and non-contextual.
  • Scale length. Problems with ANOVA.
  • Engaging the consumer. Quantitative vs Qualitative.
  • Overlooking the need for validation.


  • Should you abandon the triangle test and change to the theoretically more powerful tetrad test?
  • The information you need to decide. Which test uses the more efficient program in the brain?
  • Introduction to Thurstonian modelling, distributions and d′ values.
  • Why a 3-AFC is more efficient than a triangle test.
  • Effects of memory and adaptation.
  • Why in reality the 2-AFC beats the theoretically more powerful 3-AFC.
  • Why a tetrad is more efficient than a triangle test.
  • Can we do better than tetrad tests? The new generation of powerful tests.
  • Validation is easy.


  • Not so new. Earnest Dichter
  • Why emotions? Predicting purchase behavior. Individualizing products.
  • Should we use emotion questionnaires from clinical psychology?
  • POMS, MAACL-R, PANAS, ESR etc etc. More negative than positive emotions. Fridja’s law.
  • How a psychologist constructs a questionnaire with built-in validity.
  • Food Science emotion questionnaires: Meiselman & King EsSense profiles.
  • Emotional measurement or word association?
  • Nonsense scaling. Validation.
  • Underlying emotional experience. Russell’s quadrants.
  • Pictorial emotional measures.
  • Psychological research: “I want it and I want it now!”. Impulse buying. Identity expression.
  • Thinking fast and thinking slow. Does it affect purchase intent?
  • Habit busting. Swahn/ICA.
  • Non-cognitive measures: the way of the future?
  • Cortical measures: fMRI. Sub region of the medial prefrontal cortex for better prediction.
  • Potential of other autonomic responses. EEG and preference scores are correlated.
  • Unconscious facial movements. Paul Ekman, Noldus, Dan Hill, PrEmo.Facial movements over the internet: Realeyes.
  • Where are we going? What should we do?
  • The need for validation. Does any of this work?

Course Venue

- To be Announced

Yes: Please enrol me in THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONSUMER PREFERENCE Paris 10 - 11 October 2018

Course Fee: €1600.00

Discounts: We offer a 5 % discount on registrations when two or more people from the same company register for the same course, at the same time.

Registration Policy:  Registration is not final until payment is received. Unpaid spaces will be opened to new registrants 30 days ahead of courses.

Payment:  Payment may be made in US dollars, Euros or GB pounds via the Worldpay Gateway or into Currency accounts. Contact for routing and IBAN details of the currency account you require.

Refund policy: Cancellation of registration can be made up to 30 days ahead, and return of payments, minus reasonable administrative expenses, will be made for these cancellations. Cancellations within 15 to 30 days of the course start will receive a credit for a future course. Registrants who fail to attend or cancel less than 15 days prior to the seminar start date are responsible for the entire fee. Substitution of another person for the same course may be made at any time. 


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Mailing address for registration and payment:
Dr H J H MacFie
43 Manor Road
Keynsham, Nr Bristol,
BS31 1RB, United Kingdom

Tel/Fax +44(0)1179863590

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