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What is dominance? An exploration of the concept in TDS tests with trained assessors and consumers

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

Food Quality and Preference ; Volume 64. p. 72–81. 2018

Varela, Paula; Antúnez, Lucía; Carlehög, Mats; Alcaire, Florencia; Castura, J.C; Berget, Ingunn; Giménez, Ana; Næs, Tormod; Ares, Gastón

TDS describes the evolution of the dominant sensory attributes during consumption. Dominance can be assessed as the sensation that captures the attention, the most striking, or the new sensation that pops up, but not necessarily the most intense. This wide definition implies that individual assessors within a panel might assess dominance differently, and even the same assessor could be using different strategies for determining the dominant attribute the same product evaluation. In this context, the aim of the present work was to explore how trained assessors and consumers conceptualize dominance and how the different interpretations and definitions of dominance might influence results of a TDS test. Two studies were performed, one study with a highly trained panel of 10 assessors and another study with 108 consumers. Trained assessors evaluated three bread samples via TDS and their conceptualization of dominance was explored through an immediate retrospective verbalization task. Consumers evaluated their temporal perception of a commercial milk chocolate sample and answered a series of open-ended questions. Results showed that dominance is a complex construct that is not related to a single aspect of sensory perception, and that different conceptualizations of dominance within a panel can hinder an accurate interpretation of results from TDS studies. Various aspects of dominance are highlighted and discussed: how attributes are selected, which are the drivers of transitions between dominant attributes, how the competitive effects of attributes and modalities are manifested, how some phenomena like dumping or dithering could happen at some stages and why. Practitioners are advised to ensure that their interpretation of TDS data is made within the context of the dominance definition they instructed assessors to use. Implications of the results for the application of TDS with trained assessors and consumers are discussed.

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