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.
- Cognitive decision strategy
- Constant-reference duo-trio
- Operational test power
- Unspecified discrimination method