Sensitivity changes during measurement sequences of infra-red-stimulated luminescence (IRSL) and post-IR optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) are presented for a sample of loess from northwestern China. Together with a dose recovery experiment, the results are used to investigate the ratio of 2.4 found for the D-e values (for IRSL and [post-IR] OSL) obtained when using a single-aliquot regenerative-dose (SAR) protocol in which both D-e values are obtained in a single sequence of measurements. Responses to test doses for both the IRSL and [post-IR] OSL show progressive luminescence sensitivity changes with repeated measurement cycles, with a slight dose dependence for the IRSL. In addition, five modified SAR procedures were used, varying preheats, filter combinations and method of measuring the luminescence signal. The D-e values for all IRSL measurements were at least 50% greater than those for the [post-IR] OSL signal. A modified SAR sequence was also applied in which 0.1 s stimulations (using both IR and blue light sources) were made between all sample treatments. A lack of consistency in the measured luminescence sensitivity of the natural IRSL signal suggests that the [post-IR] OSL signal provides the more reliable value of D-e. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.