Immediate feedback training for difference from control panels
Panelist training is essential for a successful analytical sensory analysis, like Difference from Control (DFC). Panelist performance requires feedback, calibration and motivation. Typically, panelists are recruited, screened, trained and qualified before becoming part of an ongoing DFC quality panel. This study compared the impact of training on two groups of vodka quality panelists. A pool of panelists, inexperienced in vodka sensory testing, underwent common training for potential panelists, including references for scaling. One group was given immediate feedback (IF) during training sessions and the other was given delayed feedback (DF). During training, panelists were presented with 4 samples per training day for a total of 6 training days. Three attributes (at two different intensities) were used for a total of 6 test products and 1 control, each test product was seen 3 times and the control was seen 6 times, once each session. DFC scoring was done using a category scale with 11 boxes. Immediate feedback was given individually in the data collection booth using the Feedback Calibration Method (FCM®). Delayed feedback was provided via email after each training day giving panelists their scores and the target scores. While both groups appear to have started and ended the training with similar accuracy, the IF group appears to have stabilized during training whereas the DF appears to fluctuate in panelist performance. Panelist motivation was also noted to be higher in the IF group; IF panelists gained confidence in their performance and DF panelists felt uncertain of their performance. The use of immediate feedback is beneficial to panelist training since it can decrease training time as well as boost panelist motivation.
Gill, D., Mclean, J., Findlay, C. J., & Castura, J. C. (2015). Immediate feedback training for difference from control panels. In: 11th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium. 23-27 August. Gothenburg, Sweden.