John Prescott, PhD

I am a specialist in the human perception of taste, smell and oral chemesthesis with a particular
interest in how preferences for foods are formed.

Since gaining a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of New South Wales (1986), I have
held positions as Director, Sensory Research Centre (CSIRO Australia; 1990-1996), Director, Sensory
Science Research Centre & Associate Professor of Food Science (University of Otago, New Zealand;
1996–2003) and academic positions in the psychology departments of Australia’s James Cook University
and The University of Newcastle (2003–2011). My teaching experience includes basic and advanced
courses in sensory science, human perception and learning, and the psychology of hedonics.



Biographical Highlights

Australasian Association for ChemoSensory Science
  • Past Secretary and President
Association for Chemoreception Sciences
  • Member since 1990
Chemosensory Perception
  • Member of the executive editorial board
Sense of Smell Institute
European Conferences on Sensory and Consumer Research (2005 - 2012); European Chemosensory Research Organisation conferences (2009, 2011), and The Pangborn Sensory Science Symposia (1999 - 2011)
  • Member, scientific committee
9th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium (Toronto, 2011)
  • Co-Chair

I have authored more than 80 journal articles and 20 book chapters in areas such as cross-cultural taste perception and preferences 1 (see key publications below), perception of pungency 2, the genetic basis of taste perception 3, flavour perception 4,5,6, and the role of learning in taste and odour interactions7, as well as several articles for more general consumption, including for the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 8 and the Encyclopedia of Perception 9


Some key publications
[see a more complete list of journal articles in ResearchID or ResearchGate]

  1. Prescott, J. (1998) Comparisons of taste perceptions and preferences of Japanese and Australian consumers: overview and implications for cross-cultural sensory research. Food Quality & Preference, 9, 393-402.
  2. Prescott, J. & Stevenson, R.J. (1995) Pungency in food perception and preference. Food Reviews International, 11 (4), 665-698.
  3. Prescott, J. & Tepper, B. (eds) Genetic Variation in Taste Sensitivity. NY: Marcel Dekker. 2004.
  4. Small, D.M. & Prescott, J. (2005) Odor/taste integration and the perception of flavor. Experimental Brain Research, 166, 345-357.
  5. Prescott, J. (2011) Multimodal chemosensory interactions and the perception of flavour. In: M.M. Murray & M.T. Wallace (eds) Frontiers in the Neural Bases of Multisensory Processes, CRC Press, pp. 691-704.
  6. Prescott, J. (2008) Flavour Perception and Preference as a Learned Experience. In: H. Blumenthal, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 487-489.
  7. Yeomans, M.R., Prescott, J. & Gould, N.G. (2009) Acquired hedonic and sensory characteristics of odours: Influence of sweet liker and propylthiouracil taster status. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 1648-1664.
  8. Prescott, J. (2002) Acceptance and Rejection (pp. 1-7) & Senses and Sensation (pp. 248-261) In: Katz, S.H. (ed) Encyclopedia of Food & Culture, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  9. Prescott, J. (2010) Flavor (pp. 461-465) & Supertasters (pp. 964-967) In: E.B. Goldstein (ed.), Encyclopedia of Perception, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.


Selected recent invited conference presentations & lectures

Origins of food preferences.
  • Summer Program in Sensory Evaluation, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, August 8 – 9, 2009.
Analysis, Acceptability & Cognition.
  • 4th European Conference on Sensory & Consumer Research, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, Sept. 4 – 8, 2010.
The origins of food pleasure.
  • Royal Institution (Australia), Adelaide, 8th February, 2010.
Analysis, Acceptability and Cognition.
  • Unilever Research Centre, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands, February, 2011.
Attention and Learning in Chemosensory Perception and Preference.
  • Centre European Science de Gout, Dijon, France, 29th June, 2011.
Chemosensory learning and flavour: Perception, preference & intake.
  • Conference on Flavor and Feeding, Ingestive Behavior Research Center, West Lafayette, USA, September 21-23, 2011.
How aromas aquire their meaning and their ability to influence behaviour
  • Cosmetic & Sensory conference, Tours, France, 26-27th June, 2012
The science of savoury
  • First Latin American Symposium on Umami: state of the art in sensory aspects, Rio, Brazil, August 16th, 2013
Questione Di Gusto
  • Festival della Scienza, Genoa, Italy, October 28 - Nov 3, 2013