Unspecified duo-trio tests can be as powerful as the specified 2-AFC: Effects of instructions and familiarization procedures on cognitive decision strategies

Hyun Kyung Shin, Michael J. Hautus, Hye Seong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Using signal detection theory (SDT) and Thurstonian analysis, it has been possible in the food industry to make various business decisions such as reformulations and cost reductions based on the degree of consumer sensory discriminability by applying equivalence/difference testing. To achieve more efficient decision-making, it is important to investigate a theoretically and operationally more powerful consumer discrimination test method. Cognitive decision strategies used in discrimination methods largely determine relative test power and thus are of theoretical and practical significance. The goal of this study was to investigate if test procedures using a constant-ref. duo-trio design enable untrained/naïve subjects to use a powerful 2-AFC strategy. Although previously the constant-ref. duo-trio design showed operational superiority to other unspecified test methods, the 'comparison of distance' (COD) strategy which is conventionally assumed for the duo-trio, lacks theorized power. The tested variables included two versions of duo-trio design, different familiarizations, instructions and experimental session designs. Three different iced tea samples were discriminated from a reference by 263 untrained/naïve subjects using 5 different duo-trio test procedures. Results showed that untrained/naïve subjects were able to perform the duo-trio with the reference presented twice, first and middle (DTFM) as a 2-AFC procedure, even with multiple pairs in a block design, after only two reference tastings with the information of the constant-reference. The duo-trio preceded by specified tetrad tests also showed potential as another efficient two-sequence test design. These results suggest that such constant-ref. duo-trio protocols using a 2-AFC strategy can be an alternative to the unspecified triangle and tetrad test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science , ICT & Future Planning (No. 2015R1A1A1A05001170 ). The authors thank to Yu-na Jeong and Dr. Danielle van Hout for their valuable comments about data analysis and suggestions that helped improve the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • 2-AFCR
  • Cognitive decision strategy
  • Constant-reference duo-trio
  • Operational test power
  • Unspecified discrimination method


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