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Difference Testing & Drivers of Liking®

& Their Roles in New Product Innovation

November 7 - 10, 2023

The Greenbrier Resort | White Sulphur Springs, WV, US


*Virtual and in-person attendance options are available for this course

Course 1 or Course 2


Both courses


This course will be of interest to a broad audience of people in any organization where success depends on introducing new products or services that are superior to their competitors or their own current offerings. This audience includes senior managers who have overall responsibility for new product brands or even new ways of working in their organizations. The course should also appeal to those in technical and marketing insights who use a variety of tools to facilitate the process of creating successful new products with appropriate branding.


Course Summary

Technical Change (Course 1): Thurstonian Models & Discrimination Testing (Nov. 7 - 8)

Product Development (Course 2): Thurstonian Models & Drivers of Liking® (Nov. 9 - 10)

All highly successful new product introductions have certain features that drive their success.  A central element is that they provide a new consumer-perceived benefit and, once that benefit has been identified, it is skillfully expressed in a new product. In this course, we will first illustrate with examples what we mean by a consumer-perceived benefit in a variety of product categories.  Then we will examine how methods used in sensory and consumer science, in particular discrimination testing and Drivers of Liking®, play a role in converting a technical change into a successful new product.


In these courses, we will describe how you can use the Thurstonian framework to successfully answer two recurring questions:

  • Discrimination testing: How do you determine the most appropriate method for your applications that provides data that can detect differences due to a technical change at high power and anticipate consumer relevance?

  • Drivers of Liking®: What product characteristics drive consumer liking at an individual level and how can you build a tool to aid in successful new product innovation?


  • Printed manuals of slides and exercises

  • 3-month free software trial of IFPrograms® Professional 

  • A printed copy of our book, Tools and Applications of Sensory and Consumer Science and PDF downloads of the following 2 books: Thurstonian Models: Categorical Decision Making in the Presence of Noise

The instructors for this course will be:


The Institute for Perception


The Institute for Perception

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The Institute for Perception

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Molson Coors Beverage Co. (retired)


Dulce Paredes

Takasago International Corp., USA

Tuesday, November 7  |  8am - 4pm EST


  • The Invention-Innovation Paradigm

  • Consumer-perceived benefits

  • Innovation in the beer industry: Historical perspectives

  • Olfactory innovations: The rise of the botanicals

  • Thurstonian models for discrimination testing: Variability, decision rules, d' values and variances

  • Detailed account of common difference testing methods: 2-AFC,
    duo-trio, triangle, tetrad

  • A better alternative to proportion detectors in the population

Cases (IFPrograms® exercises)

  • Ingredient supplier change: Texture of cookies using 2-AFC and triangle

  • Consumer preference without a sensory difference

  • Variability in proportion detector estimates

Wednesday, November 8  |  8am - 4pm EST


  • Why the tetrad is superior to the triangle and duo-trio methods

  • Power and sample sizes for difference testing methods

  • Consumer-relevant action standards and how to create them

  • Same-different vs. paired preference for consumer relevance

  • Risk and sample size when switching to the tetrad method

  • Building a successful internal sensory program

Cases (IFPrograms® exercises)

  • Estimating panel sample sizes as a function of method, power, α, and size of the differenc

  • Same-different method to establish consumer relevance (δR)

  • Linking internal panel and consumer sensitivities

  • Switching from the triangle to the tetrad method

Thursday, November 9  |  8am - 4pm EST


  • Why link consumer and sensory data?

  • The sensory space in contrast to the Drivers of Liking space

  • How to plan a category appraisal (IFPrograms® exercises)

    • Product selection using graph theory

    • Method comparison to generate sample presentation orders

    • Multiple day effect, complete vs. incomplete block designs

  • First mapping option for ingredient change project

    • Factor analysis

    • Assumptions and potential limitations of the approach

  • Introduction to Landscape Segmentation Analysis® (LSA):
      Liking as a form of similarity (IFPrograms® exercises)

    • Successive analytical steps

    • Unfolding - combining models from Thurstone and Coombs

  • Applications of LSA principles to ingredient change project

    • Creating the product and consumer ideal point space

    • Studying consumer segmentation

    • Regressing sensory information to uncover the drivers of liking

  • Limitations of internal and external preference mapping that do   not account for perceptual variance and individual ideal points

    • Application of LSA to 27 real-world category appraisals

Friday, November 10  |  8am - 12pm EST


  • Using the Drivers of Liking Space (IFPrograms® exercises)

    • Maximizing consumer satisfaction (absence of competition)

    • Creating optimal product sensory profiles and portfolios

    • Best strategy to avoid cannibalization

    • Maximizing first choice against competition

    • Using machine learning to characterize uncovered consumer subgroups

  • Extending the use of an LSA space: New product predicted performance (IFPrograms® exercises)

    • Determine the spatial location of new products using their sensory and analytical profiles

    • LSA as a computer-aided design tool: Predict consumer acceptability using ideal points without new consumer testing

  • Novel applications of LSA in the real world

  • Course conclusions


Please enter your information below to register for this course. Those registering 2 or more attendees from the same company are eligible for a 10% discount on the 2nd registration. We offer reduced fees (50%) for non-profit entities, academics, and government employees Please contact us before registering if you are eligible for a discounted rate. 

Which attendance option would you prefer?
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