In the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Episode "Angel One" how is it that Data doesn't know what an aphrodisiac or perfume is, but in the same episode knows of 'Bingo', an obscure ancient human game?

Do they not wear perfume in the 24th century? Ewwwww....

  • 2
    As with Data not knowing the definition of "snoop" in the very first episode, it seems that despite his enhanced cognitive abilities Data never thought to read a dictionary.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:36
  • 5
    Just a speculation, but we can probably chalk it up to the idiosyncracies of what Dr. Noonien Soong chose to put into his mental database. Maybe he even intentionally left holes in his knowledge about certain non-essential information so that Data would have to learn by talking to people.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:48
  • 1
    @Hypnosifl indeed that was the reason! Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 10:42
  • @Hypnosifl that's an interesting thought. I wonder if there are any writers notes to back that theory up.
    – JMFB
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 7:05
  • @Xantec Dictionaries do not provide all of the information needed to understand all the entries on a meaningful level. Try looking up "perfume" in a dictionary. Ask yourself "Is there sufficient information here for Data to decide whether various liquids are or are not perfumes?"
    – David42
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Ever asked a nine year old what chess is? Or an aphrodisiac? The results will most likely be similar. They'll know the ancient game (even if just by name), but they might not know the aphrodisiac.

While there are definitely some inconsistencies in Data's knowledge, this doesn't sound too odd. Don't forget that knowing or having heard about something is one thing, bring able to associate it is something different.

So far Data will most likely have worked with male people. I'd imagine it being unlikely to see them talking about perfumes on a regular basis.

On the other hand it's a lot more likely to play or at least talk about various games.

While the Federation abandoned the concept or need of money, they clearly play games such as blackjack or roulette.

  • I played chess when I was nine years old, and most nine year olds, I think know what chess is. Whether they know how to play it is a different matter, but they'd know it's a game. A nine year old would also know what perfume is.
    – JMFB
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 7:16
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    "Ever asked a nine year old what chess is? Or an aphrodisiac?" - I doubt this is comparable in any way. Unlike a nine year old, Data is "fully functional" (and aware of it) and he also has the memories of the inhabitants of a whole colony. Other than that, the assumptions that "Data will most likely have worked with male people", and that males will talk about card and board games, but not about perfume, strikes me as a fitting line for TOS and its 60s attitude, which already sounds anachronistic now, much more so in the 24th century. Commented May 9, 2015 at 9:35
  • @JMFB : I think you are misreading Mario's answer (he is not saying that they would not know what chess is).
    – Praxis
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 19:30
  • I've updated the answer to make it more clear.
    – Mario
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 19:35
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    +1 for the association. Most likely Dr. Soong just uploaded a bunch of data into Data, and until it is accessed, it's just kind of "there" somewhere with no association.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:54

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