Journal article Open Access

Can children use temporal sensory methods to describe visual and food stimuli?

Velázquez, Ana Laura; Vidal, Leticia; Varela, Paula; Ares, Gastón

Sensory scientists have adapted several sensory methods to fit children’s cognitive abilities according to the different developmental stages. Although children have been reported to be able to use sensory methods to describe foods and beverages, published applications are limited to static characterizations. In this context, the objective of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of using two dynamic methods (temporal check-all-that-apply -TCATA- and Temporal dominance of sensations -TDS-) for sensory characterization with children. A video featuring colored circles (varying in size, appearing and disappearing) was used to convey the idea of temporal perception and to familiarize children with the methods. A series of six vanilla milk desserts was used in the tasting session. A total of 102 children (8 to 12 years old) recruited from two Uruguayan schools participated in the study. They were randomly divided in two groups, each of which used one of the methods. Results showed that TCATA and TDS allowed capturing the dynamics in the video. However, TCATA provided a more detailed description of how the colored circles evolved with time than TDS. In the case of the milk desserts samples, both methodologies showed similar results regarding the most relevant sensory characteristics. However, children mostly used them as static methods. In the TDS task, children dithered for long before selecting a new attribute, which points towards difficulties in evaluating dominance. Results from the present work suggest that refinements are needed to make TCATA and TDS methods applicable with children for characterizing food stimuli.

The study was conducted as part of the project "Edulia - Bringing down barriers to children's healthy eating" (see https://edulia.eu/).
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