Temporal methods are those that collect data on how the intensity of sensory characteristics change with time. They include Time Intensity, which tracks just one attribute; Progressive Profiling, where a group of attributes is rated at pre-defined time intervals; and more recently, Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS).
In a TDS study, the respondent is presented with a list of sensory attributes and, as he eats or drinks the product, is asked to state which attribute is dominant. When the dominant attribute changes he selects the new dominant one. TDS has been used with both trained sensory panels and consumers, although good practice dictates that consumers be familiarised with the attributes first.
TDS has become very popular, because it tracks several attributes at a time and has been shown to give excellent discrimination of many complex products, including wine, chocolate and beer.
Compusense started talking about Temporal Check All That Apply (TCATA) as an alternative to TDS. In TCATA, the respondent is again presented with a list of several attributes. He is asked to check all those that describe his perception at any one time and to check and uncheck attributes to reflect changes in what he perceives as he eats or drinks.
Compusense has used TCATA to evaluate orange juices and yogurts. They claim that it is better than (TDS) because it removes the need for the respondent to understand the concept of dominance. Dominance can be a difficult concept for assessors, particularly consumers, to understand. In addition, Compusense argues that TDS does not recover detail about the non-dominant sensations which are in effect ‘dampened’ (reduced in apparent intensity) by the dominant sensation. They call this the ‘kingmaker’ effect.
In TCATA, attributes are merely checked when they are noticed and unchecked when they are no longer apparent. As a result, no one attribute assumes more prominence than another and TCATA does not exhibit either ‘dampening’ or ‘kingmaker’ effects. The result, says Compusense, is that TCATA recovers more detail about the full range of sensations experienced during eating than TDS; and gives improved discrimination across a product set. In addition, TCATA is easy for consumers and sensory panellists to use and the data is easy to analyse.
Clearly further research and validation is required. In the meantime we would be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences of TCATA.
Castura, J.C.; Giménez, A.; Antúnez, L. and Arés, G. Temporal Check All That Apply: A novel temporal method for characterising products, 2015.