Although human panelists provide unparalleled data, they are prone to bias, which is a primary concern of sensory scientists. Motivational bias is of concern because it determines how much effort a panelist will exert to be consistent, find a difference, or use appropriate descriptors when taking a test. For central location tests, money has become a common motivational device to compensate panelists for their time and effort. Studies have documented that money can change results in sensory testing but have not measured the impact on motivation. Additionally, little research has been conducted on the effect of the test food itself as a motivator. This scientific investigation explored monetary reward and the test food type as motivational factors to examine how these affected untrained panelist effort. Panelist accuracy on a triangle test and assessment time to complete the triangle test were measured as the response variables. Two models were generated using the two response variables, and both were adjusted for panelist age, gender, liking, time of day, and day of the week. Statistical analysis indicated that monetary compensation was not a primary motivational factor for untrained sensory panelists, but might play a role in panelist attendance. Food type impacted models differently showing its importance but also making results inconclusive. Other factors like gender, age, time of day, and day of the week were significant to a panelist's motivation and may be related to things like food involvement and workday accumulation, but more research is needed to further support these ideas. In addition to the study at hand, three preliminary studies were completed prior to obtaining the results in the main study. First, surveys gathering data on general liking of different foods were conducted. Triangle tests were then completed on potential products to confirm that treatments created for foods were not too obvious for panelists. The last preliminary step was to confirm that all differences used for treatment differences per product type were similarly different, even though not similar in nature. Difference from control tests were conducted on each product and its treatments to find how different a product's treatments were from each other. Eventually, we were able to verify that between all treatment difference couples for all products were similarly different by keeping the individual differences between a range of 10 points or 10% of a 100-point scale.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





effort, food type, monetary incentive, motivation, triangle test, untrained panelist