Sample Dimensionality Effects on d' and Proportion of Correct Responses in Discrimination Testing

David J. Bloom, Soo Yeun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Products in the food and beverage industry have varying levels of dimensionality ranging from pure water to multicomponent food products, which can modify sensory perception and possibly influence discrimination testing results. The objectives of the study were to determine the impact of (1) sample dimensionality and (2) complex formulation changes on the d' and proportion of correct response of the 3-AFC and triangle methods. Two experiments were conducted using 47 prescreened subjects who performed either triangle or 3-AFC test procedures. In Experiment I, subjects performed 3-AFC and triangle tests using model solutions with different levels of dimensionality. Samples increased in dimensionality from 1-dimensional sucrose in water solution to 3-dimensional sucrose, citric acid, and flavor in water solution. In Experiment II, subjects performed 3-AFC and triangle tests using 3-dimensional solutions. Sample pairs differed in all 3 dimensions simultaneously to represent complex formulation changes. Two forms of complexity were compared: dilution, where all dimensions decreased in the same ratio, and compensation, where a dimension was increased to compensate for a reduction in another. The proportion of correct responses decreased for both methods when the dimensionality was increased from 1- to 2-dimensional samples. No reduction in correct responses was observed from 2- to 3-dimensional samples. No significant differences in d' were demonstrated between the 2 methods when samples with complex formulation changes were tested. Results reveal an impact on proportion of correct responses due to sample dimensionality and should be explored further using a wide range of sample formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S2246-S2251
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • 3-AFC
  • dimensionality
  • discrimination testing
  • d′
  • power
  • triangle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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