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Making the Most of Data Diversity in Sensory Science

Live Broadcast: April 29, 2020

On Demand Presentation

(Video, SSP member access only)​

View Webinar View Q&A​

About the Webinar

As sensory and consumer scientists, one of our biggest challenges is managing a wide variety of diverse data sources. In this webinar, we'll hear from a range of industry experts on lessons they've learned and successes they've enjoyed managing their diverse sources of data. Attendees to this webinar will gain new ideas for data sources together with new approaches for making the most of the diverse data they already collect.


  • Janavi Kumar is a Sr. Sensory Scientist at General Mills, Inc. with years of experience in strategic product and consumer research related to innovation, renovation and quality. She has led sensory research for a number of different product platforms and initiatives in her role with the Product Guidance and Insights group. She has a passion for experimentation with digital tools and new technologies that enhance the way we collect and utilize sensory data for decision making. She is also actively engaged in Corporate Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, holding a leadership role in the Asian Leader Network.​
  • Dr. Michelle Murphy Niedziela is a behavioral neuroscience expert in neuropsychology, psychology and consumer science. Experienced from academia (Monell Chemical Senses Center) and industry (Johnson & Johnson, Mars Chocolate) in R&D of innovation technologies and methodologies for consumer research. As VP of Research and Innovation at HCD Research, Michelle focuses on integrating applied consumer neuroscience tools with traditional methods used to measure consumer response.  ​
  • Dr. Alexandra (Alex) Pierce-Feldmeyer is a sensory scientist at Mane, Inc., where her research interests include how psychology influences flavor perception and how we can better measure reactions to foods and beverages, including implicit and explicit measures of human behavior.  Alex completed her PhD at Ohio State University in sensory evaluation and psychophysics, assessing the functional or cognitive benefits from food and food ingredients.


  • Dr. John Ennis is president and co-founder of Aigora, where he supports sensory and consumer science teams with AI-powered services.  John is a market research consultant trained in both mathematics and computational neuroscience; author of 30+ peer-reviewed articles in a variety of fields and several books in sensory science; chair of ASTM E18.04 "Fundamentals of Sensory" and chair-elect of E18 "Sensory Evaluation"; a popular instructor at dozens of short courses; a member of the editorial boards of both Food Quality and Preference and Journal of Sensory Studies; and past winner of the Food Quality and Preference, "Researcher of the Future" award.

Webinar Agenda

Talk 1: Pros and Cons of Current Smart Speaker Technology for Survey Data Collection
Janavi Kumar, General Mills

Smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa devices, offer several potential benefits as data collection instruments for consumer research. These benefits include hands-free survey completion, the gathering of timing information along with consumer responses, and the long-term possibility of conversational surveys akin to in-person interviews. But to what extent does the current state-of-the-art technology realize these benefits? To answer this question, we conducted a small-scale survey to compare data collected on Amazon Alexa devices with data collected in a traditional online survey format. In this presentation, we review our lessons learned in terms of data quality and reliability, as well as meta-level learnings pertaining to the survey experience itself.

Talk 2: Thinking Fast & Thinking Critically – Using the right tool for the right question with consumer neuroscience
Michelle Niedziela, HCD Research

The use (and abuse) of neuroscience and psychological research methodologies has become a hot topic in consumer research. Neuro- and psychological science can help consumer and sensory researchers and product developers better understand consumers’ unconscious motivators and reactions. However, the field of “neuromarketing” has been plagued with pseudoscience and “neurohype” and researchers have experienced some disappointments when trying to incorporate these measures into their research. While physiological measures have been used successfully in academia to better understand human perception, proper application of consumer neuroscience in industry has been more challenging. I will address these challenges, current methodologies and technologies, and issues with research design using applied consumer neuroscience. I will discuss real examples of misuses, abuses and disappointments of these methodologies. Real and thoughtful applied consumer neuroscience is about using the right combination of sensitive measures from psychology and neuroscience in appropriate ways.

Talk 3: How to Use a Graph Database to Extract Insights from Diverse Historical Sensory and Consumer Data – A Step-By-Step Use-Case
Alexandra Pierce-Feldmeyer, Mane, Inc.

This talk presents a step-by-step use-case of how to implement a graph database to extract novel insights from diverse historical sensory and consumer data. Among the types of data we include in a single database are: Demographics, descriptive analysis, difference testing including both Tetrad and Triangle tests, emotion CATA, ingredient and flavor information, Just-About-Right, preference and temporal data. We demonstrate how, using Neo4j - a freely available open-source graph database platform - sensory scientists can perform efficient and intuitive artificial intelligence (AI) powered queries on the totality of their historical data.

Archived Presentations:

Making the Most of Data Diversity in Sensory Science​
Spring 2020 Webinar
(Video, member access only)

Demystifying Qualitative Sensory Research​
Fall 2019 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

Make Your Message Heard​
Spring 2019 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

The Journal of Sensory Studies: A guide to getting published and maximizing your access to top sensory research
Spring 2018 Meeting​
(Video, member access only)

The Sky is Not the Limit: Taking Sensory into the Final Frontier
Fall 2017 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

Sensory Research in a Global Environment: How to be an Effective Sensory Scientist Anywhere on the Planet​
Spring 2017 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

Beyond Food - What's different about non-food sensory?​
Spring 2016 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

Let's Connect Live Over Research - Technical Paper Presentation
Fall 2015 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

Successfully Influencing Decision Making – Perspectives from Sensory Experts
Spring 2015 Meeting
(Video, member access only)

When JAR scales and penalty analysis tell different stories
Spring 2014 Meeting
(PDF, member access only)

Emotion measurement for products: The current state of the art
Spring 2014 Meeting
(PDF, member access only)

Shorter scales and tighter focus for better consumer rating data
Fall 2013 Meeting (pilot)
(Video, member access only)

Digital real time data collection: Being a savvy user
Fall 2013 Meeting (pilot)
(Video, member access only)