Sensory Discrimination Tests

Better Models for Sensory Discrimination Tests: Thurstone made easy

(webinar length:  1h 09m)


Thurstonian models for sensory difference tests have greatly advanced our thinking about the nature and size of a sensory difference and how to measure it. Most importantly, they provide a common metric for comparing sensory test results across different methods. However, the models are poorly understood, and almost unheard of in higher managerial ranks.

This webinar will provide a simple introduction to these very useful mathematical models for sensory testing. The talk will trace them as a natural extension of signal detection theory, which supplants the old notion of a sensory threshold. Application to popular difference tests such as the triangle, duo-trio and paired comparison procedures will be demonstrated. Issues in test power and sensitivity will be discussed. The advantages to using Thurstonian difference measures over statistical significance (or in addition to it) and other metrics such as proportions of discriminators will be discussed. One conclusion is that management can be provided with more useful information from a sensory difference test than simply whether or not there was a statistically significant result. The result from applying these methods is that better-informed decisions can be made in the product development process.

Who will benefit:

  • Product Development Scientists
  • R&D Managers
  • Sensory Evaluation Professionals
  • Marketing Research Managers
  • Quality Control Engineers


Presenter--Harry T. Lawless

Dr. Harry Lawless is Professor Emeritus of Food Science at Cornell University , where he has taught sensory evaluation and flavor science for 22 years. He is internationally recognized as a leading authority in sensory testing of foods and taste and smell research. Dr. Lawless is co-author of the leading textbook in sensory testing: Sensory Evaluation of Foods, Principles and Practices with Dr. Hildegarde Heymann of the University of California, Davis. Dr. Lawless received his PhD from Brown University and BA from Yale. He is the author of over 200 scientific papers and technical articles. During his professional career he has worked at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, S. C. Johnson Wax, General Mills, General Foods, Peryam and Kroll Research and the U. S. Army Natick Food Laboratories.

  • Item #: 0131dSens
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Price $289.00