2018 November Course

November 6-9, 2018

LOCATION: The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, WV

COURSE FEE: $1,975

Registration fee includes:
  • All course materials
  • Daily lunch and food/beverage break refreshments
  • A group dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday evenings
  • A complimentary webinar attendance or recording
  • 3-month free trial of IFPrograms software (Professional version)
  • A copy of our latest books:

    - Readings in Advertising Claims Substantiation
    - Tools and Applications of Sensory and Consumer Science
    - Thurstonian Models: Categorical Decision Making in the Presence of Noise

A 20% discount will be applied to each additional registration from the same company, made at the same time. Academic discount available upon request. To receive the discount, please contact Susan Longest at mail@ifpress.com before registering.

This program qualifies for Certified Food Scientist (CFS) recertification contact hours (CH). CFS Certificants may claim 18 CH for their participation in the Tools and Applications of Sensory and Consumer Science course. For more information, please visit www.ift.org/certification or email ifscc@ift.org.

This course has been developed for technical and supervisory personnel who use product tests and surveys. The concepts covered have valuable applications to product development, quality assurance, marketing science, and advertising claims substantiation in consumer product companies. The instructors will be:

The topics covered follow. For more details, please see the course brochure and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. To register, please call (804) 675-2980 or use our on-line registration form. Enrollment is limited.

Principles of Categorical Choice Models:
A Foundation for Difference, Rating, and Hedonic Testing

Imagine designing a modern bridge without any knowledge of physics. Imagine treating a person for trauma without an underlying foundation in anatomy and physiology.

This is the exact scenario that many sensory and consumer scientists find themselves in when they begin working in industry. Without understanding the models underpinning categorical choice methods, which includes all difference, sensory rating, and hedonic testing, one cannot appreciate the basis for powerful and cost effective tests. Instead, there is a risk of wasting money on tests that are not statistically powerful, a risk of paradoxical results without a clear explanation, and a risk of mere mimicry, without understanding the foundations that underlie one’s professional decisions. In general, universities are not providing the training needed, or the training is not provided in the departments from which future sensory and consumer scientists graduate, so that they may be operating like engineers with little or no background in physics. These professionals are left to mimic the methods of others without understanding the principles.

You will return from this retreat-style course with a deep foundation in the basis for categorical decision making which applies to all of the methods you commonly use. You will then be able to skillfully apply and adapt your knowledge to multiple scenarios you will encounter while working in industry.

Meet Vera Tass and Willet Flie, two fictional characters much like the sensory and consumer scientists described above, who are floundering. Vera and Willet are wasting money on ineffective testing, confused by paradoxical results, and their senior management has tired of pouring money into testing that resolves nothing and seems to always lead to a recommendation to do more testing.

With their livelihoods at stake, these characters bring to life the underlying measurement principles of their fields. Through a series of scenarios, you will begin to see, along with Vera and Willet, how experimental procedures are selected that will best meet your research objectives and lead to timely and definitive management decisions.

Tuesday, November 6 (8am - 4pm)

Corporate Scenario: The scenario begins with a proposed ingredient change. We follow the product study process starting with unresolved conflicting difference test results and then continue as the tetrad test and replicated testing are introduced.


  • Ingredient change dilemma: Duo-trio, triangle, and 2-AFC data lead to different conclusions: Gridgeman’s paradox
  • The Thurstonian framework underlying all sensory evaluation methods - the science in sensory science
  • Difference testing theory: m-AFC, triangle, duo-trio, same-different, degree of difference, and tetrads
  • A sensory difference measure, d', from discrimination tests and how to inter-relate methods
  • Proportion of discriminators in the population and why it is flawed
  • Resolving a corporate ingredient change dilemma and improving management confidence in methodology
  • Theory and use of replicated testing to reduce product testing cost
  • Establishing sample sizes for Thurstonian-based testing
  • The tetrad test: Why it requires 1/3 the sample size of the triangle test

Wednesday, November 7 (8am - 4pm)

Corporate Scenario: The scenario continues as management requests a decision-risk analysis of the entire product testing system. See how the team creates a risk management system and links external data to consumer data to establish consumer relevance.


  • The ingredient change resolution leads management to require a decision-risk analysis of the current product testing system
  • The 5 cornerstones of product testing: α, power, sample size, size of the difference, and protocol
  • Relating trained panel and consumer sensitivities
  • Establishing an internal sensory program based on a consumer-relevant action standard
  • How a risk management program is implemented at a major food company
  • What is the best scale to use? Why rating methods involve category choice and determining d' values from intensity ratings data
  • A Thurstonian model to scale first-last (or MaxDiff) data

Thursday, November 8 (8am - 4pm)
Friday, November 9 (8am - 11am)

Corporate Scenario: Issues of sensory segmentation and portfolio optimization arise and the team is challenged to understand why alternative methodologies produce contradictory results.


  • A conceptual framework for new product innovation
  • Development of consumer-perceived benefits using Drivers of Liking® category appraisals
  • Unfolding: Introduction to Landscape Segmentation Analysis® (LSA)
  • How to identify Drivers of Liking®
  • Portfolio optimization – finding the best team of products in a portfolio
  • Blind-branded LSA and determining concept equity vs. product equity
  • Segmentation based on individual ideals and connecting them to demographics
  • Alternative method comparisons:
    • LSA
    • External preference mapping (EPM)
    • Internal preference mapping (IPM)
    • Factor analysis
    • Bayesian networks