Technical Report: Transitioning from Proportion of Discriminators to Thurstonian Delta

In a previous technical report we discussed a commonly used measure of sensory difference, the proportion of discriminators (Pd), and explained that this measure is method specific. We concluded that:

“The concept of the proportion of discriminators is intuitive and appealing. Unfortunately, it is also method-specific and one can achieve very different values using different methods, which reduces its appeal as a management criterion. The use of a method–independent index, such as the Thurstonian d', can provide more stable and accurate information that may be valuable in a decision that involves the consideration of consumers’ ability to discriminate between alternate product formulations.”

Many companies have implemented sensory discrimination programs using Pd as a parameter for power calculations. Since this measure has shortcomings, there is a need to consider a unit that is method-independent such as the Thurstonian . Fortunately, tools exist that permit the translation of a method-specific Pd into the corresponding value. In this report we discuss how these tools can be used in practice.

This technical report appears as:
Rousseau, B., Ennis, D. M., and Ennis, J. M. (2013). Transitioning from Proportion of Discriminators to Thurstonian Delta. IFPress, 16(2) 3-4.

Colleagues can download this technical report here:
Transitioning from Proportion of Discriminators to Thurstonian Delta

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This technical report also appears in our book, Tools and Applications of Sensory and Consumer Science.