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Efficient Representation of Pairwise Sensory Information

Ennis, J. M. and Ennis, D. M.  (2012). IFPress, 15(3) 3-4.



Pairwise comparisons appear throughout sensory science – two products can be compared for statistical difference, equivalence, compatibility, and so on. When many products are compared, there can be hundreds of these comparisons. And if these comparisons occur on each of a large number of attributes, the total number of comparisons can be in the tens of thousands. An outstanding challenge is to represent this pairwise information as concisely as possible, and in this report we meet this challenge by sharing recent developments in the production of tables known as compact letter displays. These displays have been optimized using techniques from the mathematical field of graph theory – using these displays sensory scientists can represent pairwise information with maximal efficiency.


Figure 1. A graph corresponding to the letter display in Table 2. The cliques defined by the letters in Table 2 are labeled accordingly

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