The Freakonomics authors, Levitt and Dubner wrote a book on how to think like a freak. I read it on a recent visit to my granddaughter in Los Angeles. A freak is always doing experiments to create data to evaluate the real world.
I did one experiment that failed. It is worth describing.
The hypothesis I was testing was that people who drank alcohol before a fine dinner could not tell a high quality meal from a fast food meal.
I got more than 40 people to my house and did a pre-test to determine taste sensitivity using five pairs of dishes. Each pair was unmarked and no one knew which was which. Double blind.
All the paired dishes had similar textures. An example was the mashed potatoes and the mashed sweet potatoes of the same color. Similarly the boiled fresh peas and the warmed canned peas.
After rating the difference between the paired dishes on a scale of 1 to 5 the group was divided into four groups. One group was to get two glasses of red wine, one group one glass of wine, one group grape juice and the last group water.
At this point there was a complete revolt. Everyone demanded to be in the wine groups, two glasses was even more popular.
No one would proceed with the test. I hadn’t seen that coming. Maybe I should have.
Several rounds of wine for everyone who came, and no hard feelings.