Contact Information

(267) 519-4814
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Molly Spencer


Postdoctoral Fellow, Monell Chemical Senses Center

Laboratory of

Dr. Pamela Dalton


Ph.D., Food Science (Sensory Science Emphasis), University of California, Davis

Research Summary

In my research at Monell and beyond, there are a few topics that I’d like to address: 1) psychophysics of taste, smell, and chemesthesis, 2) consumer food preferences and eating behavior, and 3) sensory and culinary strategies to improve nutrition and sustainability in the diet. At Monell, I will be focusing on the psychophysics of flavor interactions, masking, and enhancement amongst taste, smell, and chemesthetic stimuli, by drawing on a variety of methods and measures used in psychophysics, psychology, sensory and consumer science, physiology, and neurology. A more thorough understanding of the cognition and perception of taste, smell, and the chemical sense and how they interact, as well as the cognitive and emotional processes by which food preferences and eating behavior are developed and formed, will provide insight into sensory and culinary strategies that can successfully and permanently improve the nutrition and sustainability in the diet without sacrificing the fundamental enjoyment of eating.


Flavor interactions, chemesthesis, psychophysics, food preferences, cognition, nutrition, obesity

Recent Publications

Spencer, M.; Kurzer, A.; Cienfuegos, C.; Guinard, J.-X. (in press) Student Consumer Acceptance and Satisfaction with Plant-Forward Burrito Bowls in which Two-Thirds of the Meat has been Replaced with Legumes and Vegetables: The Flexitarian Flip™ in University Dining Venues. Appetite.

Spencer, M.; Cienfuegos, C.; Guinard, J.-X. (2018) The Flexitarian Flip™ in University Dining Venues: Student and Adult Consumer Acceptance of Mixed Dishes in which Animal Protein has been Partially Replaced with Plant Protein. Food Quality and Preference.

Spencer, M.; Guinard, J.-X. (2018) The Flexitarian Flip™: Testing the Modalities of Flavor as Sensory Strategies to Accomplish the Shift from Meat-Centered to Vegetable-Forward Mixed Dishes. Journal of Food Science.

Spencer, M.; Sage, E.; Velez, M.; Guinard, J.-X. (2016) Using Single Free Sorting and Multivariate Exploratory Methods to Design a New Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. Journal of Food Science. (Cover Article)