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An Introduction to Temporal Check-All-That-Apply (TCATA)

Compusense at-hand has an impressive assortment of temporal methods, and in the latest release, we introduced a few more. Amongst these new methods, and one that I'm particularly proud to announce, is Temporal Check-All-That-Apply (TCATA). TCATA builds on earlier methods, such as the Flavour Profile method and Temporal Dominance of Sensations, and answers the question of how flavours evolve in a product.

Many people are familiar with Check-All-That-Apply (CATA), in which assessors evaluate samples by checking words to describe samples. Some good methodological research on CATA has been published over the last few years, and so far CATA has held up very well to scrutiny.


How it Works

TCATA extends CATA to allow for continuous data collection. The task involves checking and unchecking words to track changes in the sample over time, such that at any given moment the words that are checked completely describes the sample at that moment.

How it Compares


TCATA permits assessors to indicate sensations that are noticed simultaneously, either because the sensations are actually processed in parallel by the central nervous system, or because the sensations are processed sequentially but very rapidly. By contrast, TDS (Temporal Dominance of Sensation) data has the underlying model that sensations are processed sequentially, but somewhat slowly: the assessor notices an attribute then clicks on it, then notices the next attribute then clicks on it, and so on.

People familiar with TDS will find that many TDS analyses are readily applied to TCATA data. Upon analyzing TDS and TCATA data collected on the same products, we discovered that TDS is subject to a "damping effect" and "kingmaker effect", which could result in temporal signals becoming muddied or otherwise misinterpreted. TCATA seems to give better data because multiple selections allows for the temporal information to come through.

Sharing TCATA with the Sensory Community

I had the opportunity to present this method this summer at the Sensometrics Meeting in Chicago, at the European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Research in Copenhagen, and at the Society of Sensory Professionals Conference in Tucson, and was thrilled with the responses and interest in this work. As I mentioned there, if you are interested in doing research on TCATA in your organization, feel free to drop me a line! My expectation is that TCATA will provide useful product insights, and also lead to innovative new temporal sensory methodologies.


Castura, J. C., Alcaire, F., Zorn, S., Vidal, L. & Ares, G. (2014). A comparison of two rapid methods for dynamic sensory profiling: TDS and Temporal CATA. In Society of Sensory Professionals 2014 Conference. Tucson, 17-19 September. Arizona, USA.

Castura, J. C., Lucía Antúnez, L., Giménez, A. & Ares, G. Temporal Check-all-that-apply (TCATA): A novel dynamic method for characterizing products. Food Quality and Preference. (Under review.)

Meyners, M. & Castura. J. C. (2014). Check-all-that apply questions. In: P. Varela and G. Ares (eds.): Novel Techniques in Sensory Characterization and Consumer Profiling. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Meyners, M., Castura, J. C., & Carr, B. T. (2013). Existing and new approaches for the analysis of CATA data. Food Quality and Preference, 30, 309–319.



John Castura
Vice President, Innovation, Research & Development
To learn more about John, visit Meet our Team