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Candidates for a sensory odor discrimination panel should be screened on the basis of their abilities to (a) differentiate among odors at low levels of intensity, (b) focus their attention on more than one odor quality in a given sensation, (c) understand test procedures, and (d) exhibit satisfactory behavior during tests.
Three functionally dependent variables characterize the efficacy of an odor panel screening procedure: (a) the cost, as determined by the number of sensory tests, (b) the proportion of potentially suitable candidates rejected by the screen, and (c) the proportion of potentially unsuitable candidates accepted by the screen.
This paper describes a series of three screening procedures, presented to candidates in order of increasing difficulty of execution. These are (a) the triangle test, (b) the intensity rating test, and (c) the multicomponent odor identification test. Each test is described in detail, with scoring procedures and tables for establishing significance of differences between scores. The statistical procedures facilitate rapid screening of large numbers of candidates and differ from the usual methods described in the literature. Complete derivations are given.
odors, odor panels, sensory evaluation, triangle test, odor control
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Personal member, The City College of the City University of New YorkASTM, New York, N.Y.