has been made possible by collaborations with Barry Green, an expert in oral touch, pain, and thermal sensations.
In 1995,1 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP). SEP represents continuity in psychology back to 1904 (Boring, 1938). I was particularly curious to see SEP in action because I was briefly a member of the Psychological Round Table (PRT), the “youth-fired rebellion” founded in 1936 that originally called itself the Society of Experimenting Psychologists to pique the more august group (Stevens, 1974; Benjamin, 1977). Both groups originally excluded women. SEP admitted two women in 1929 but admitted no more until Eleanor Gibson in 1958 (Furumoto, 1988). PRT first admitted women in the 1970s.
In 1998, I received the first AChemS Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Chemical Senses. Psychophysics provided the tools that made this work on taste possible. Now taste can make a contribution to psychophysics. We know that perceived taste intensities are proportional to the number of fungiform papillae. Thus we can know something about a person's taste experience by looking at that person's tongue. This allows us to test the ability of psychophysical scales to capture differences across subjects. The scales that produce the best correlations between taste intensity and number of fungiform papillae are those most able to compare intensity experiences across subjects. Taste has taken us closer than we have ever been to conquering the epistemological gap that separates us. We can measure our distance from the stars; we can measure the differences among ourselves.
When I look back, my life seems to be a series of lucky accidents. I was born late enough to be able to enter science, but early enough to get to work on problems that seemed to be waitingjust for me. Best of all, I had the good fortune to be a psychologist. The difficulties of studying behavior have made us sophisticated about experimental design and statistical analysis. We can study the big picture, but we know how to look beneath the surface to explore underlying mechanisms. The results of our work have impact on the lives of real people (Blakeslee, 1997; Goode, 1999). We have low tolerance for nonsense. To me, it doesn't get any better than this.
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