Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Food Science


Han-Seok Seo

Committee Member

Philip G. Crandall

Second Committee Member

Edward E. Gbur

Third Committee Member

Jamie I. Baum

Fourth Committee Member

Darya L. Zabelina


Analytic-holistic, Cognitive style, Consumer behavior, Food perception, Scale development, Sensory evaluation


Within the fields of psychology, notably cultural psychology, the analytic-holistic cognitive style theory has been introduced, developed, fine-tuned, and validated across a wide range of situations, stimuli, and populations. This research, combined with recent applications of the analytic-holistic theory, suggests that the differences in analytic or holistic tendencies of individuals in food, sensory, and consumer tests can impact food perception and associated behaviors. This dissertation aimed to investigate the impact of analytic-holistic cognitive styles of consumers in food situations. The first objective to accomplish this goal was to conduct exploratory research to identify if and where the analytic-holistic theory may be applicable across areas of the consumer food experience. The second objective was then to replicate one of the paramount differences of analytic and holistic groups by investigating the effect of the eating environment and how analytic-holistic cognitive styles may mediate this effect. The third objective was to identify where and how analytic and holistic groups differ in their responses to standard sensory evaluation tasks. Finally, the fourth objective was to develop and validate an analytic-holistic measurement tool that could accurately separate participants based on their analytic-holistic tendencies in food-related situations. Through completing these objectives, it was first found and continuously supported that analytic and holistic groups have significantly different perceptions of and reactions to food stimuli and food experiences. In addition, the completed studies also provide evidence that the two cognitive style groups subsequently have significantly different response data in sensory evaluation tasks, while also showing indications the current methodology to separate consumers based on analytic-holistic tendencies is not the most accurate within food-related applications. Finally, the completed studies were able to show that a food-related analytic-holistic measurement tool could be adequately developed and had superior performance to the existing assessment tool in validation testing. Combining the studies within this dissertation offers valuable insights to food science, sensory, and consumer researchers across academia and industry by showing the necessity of accounting for analytic-holistic consumer differences in their respective fields. Moreover, this dissertation provides these researchers a new, more accurate measurement tool to allow them to easily and accurately separate analytic and holistic groups within their own research. To conclude, this dissertation offers ample evidence for the importance of accounting for analytic-holistic differences in food-related consumer testing through a variety of studies showing significant differences between analytic and holistic consumer groups in terms of food perception and food-related behavior.