Came across something quite interesting on the web today:

Steven Levitt (NY Times & Bestselling Author) blogs about blind wine tasting where considerable evidence suggests that – with exception to industry expects – cheap price wines often rate equal or higher than their more expensive substitutes.

To me this phenomenon is not uncommon – that your own taste/opinion may be adversly affected by your prior perceptions or expections of that which you are about to consume

To take a case in point i was once eating a smoked ham sandwich whilst reading the ingredients only to find the phrase ‘made from reformed ham’ in the small print. After reading this each bite I took became slightly worse until i eventually chose to bin what was left.

Apparently this is whats known as neuroeconomic phenomena, something Levitt admits to being ‘generally skeptical’ of. I dont blame him as any attempt to combine disciplines (in this case economics, psychology & neuroscience) generally tends to lead to confusing results from psuedoscientific methods. That said, there really is no reason why best practice cannot produce credible findings.

Of course in my opinion the key point to take from this story (& what attracted my interest) is the following except:

‘you can bring an $8 bottle of wine to a party and explain that it tastes better than the $28 bottle you would have bought. If the host of the party is an economist, you can tape a $10 bill to the bottle for an even split of the joint surplus.’

Now if that isn’t sound advice for the credit-crunching middle classes then i dont know what is!