HNH-30506 Principles of Sensory Science


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work3
Excursion (one day)1
Course coordinator(s)dr. S Boesveldt
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. EPJ Boer
dr. ir. VWT de Wild
dr. G Jager
prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. S Boesveldt
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. S Boesveldt

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

Knowledge about food & nutrition, basic statistics.

Continuation courses:

HNH-30606 Instrumental Sensory Science
MCB-32806 Advanced Sensory methods and Sensometrics


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants (and has on top of that reserved places for new MSc students). The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year ( -> Registration for Courses.
Sensory science is an expanding field of research. During this course, an introduction will be given to the field of sensory science. The different aspects of sensory science as well as the relationships between these aspects will be discussed and presented. Several (guest) lectures are given on the basic theoretical knowledge of sensory science with a focus on human research. Classical and more novel sensory methodology and physiology of the senses are the basis of this course, which will be studied in-depth. Additionally, basic experimental psychology, behavioral observation and different factors that can influence sensation & perception (e.g. context, learning) will be discussed to show the development of the field, as well as statistical methods to analyse sensory data. Besides following lectures, the students will perform a classical sensory test on their own, within a specific food category. They will analyse and present the data with simple as well as more advanced statistics (such as mixed models, PCA) and descriptive plots, and write a scientific report about the results with their own practical group, and present it as well. The students will have an excursion to the Restaurant of the Future to show our the state-of-the-art facilities for sensory research facilities (e.g. behavioral observation).
The topics covered by this course are:
- classical and advanced sensory methodology: discrimination, thresholds, descriptive, preference and affective tests (in-depth); temporal dynamic methods; psychophysics (in-depth), 
- sensory perception and evaluation: physiology, anatomy & functions of the senses (in-depth), behavioral observation, context & bias in sensory studies;
- sensory analyses: sensometrics, interpretation and presentation of sensory research data.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain and illustrate the basic theoretical principles of sensory science;
- select and apply the appropriate sensory methods with respect to the research question;
- explain and implement the function and physiology of the different flavor-related senses , and how they can interact;
- prepare and execute a sensory test in a scientific way;
- analyse and interpret sensory data correctly;
- design and setup a sensory experiment based on a self-generated research question;
- critically reflect and discuss sensory literature.


- follow lectures on sensory science theory;
- literature study;
- learn from knowledge clips;
- engage in e-modules;
- (PC) tutorials;
- group work (practical sensory testing; setup, perform and analyze own descriptive sensory analysis);
- tour through human (observational) behavior research facilities
- writing a scientific report


Final grade will be based upon a written examination (2/3 of the grade; open questions and multiple choice) as well as the group work (1/3 of the grade; based on research proposal, report and presentation). Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.50 to pass. The mark for the group work is valid for 2 academic years.


Chapters from Lawless H.T. and Heymann H (2010), Sensory Evaluation of food, 2nd Revised edition, ISBN 978-1-4419-6487-8. Additional literature will be announced.

Compulsory for: MFTFood TechnologyMScG: Spec. G - Sensory Science1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScD: Spec. D - Sensory Science1AF
Restricted Optional for: BFTFood TechnologyBSc1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Spec. C - Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Spec. A - Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScE: Spec. E - Systems Approach for Sustainable and Healthy Diets1AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Spec. B - Nutritional Physiology and Health Status1AF
Compulsory for: WUPEBBSc Minor Psychobiology of Eating Behaviour1AF