Hedonic mediation of the crossmodal correspondence between taste and shape
Velasco C., Woods AT., Deroy O., Spence C.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Crossmodal correspondences between gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), and flavour stimuli on the one hand and visual attributes on the other have been extensively documented in recent years. For instance, people have been shown to consistently match specific tastes and flavours to particular visual shapes. That said, further research is still needed in order to clarify how and why such correspondences exist. Here, we report a series of four experiments designed to assess what drives people's matching of visual roundness/angularity to both 'basic' taste names and actual tastants. In Experiment 1, crossmodal correspondences between taste names and abstract shapes were assessed. Next, the results were replicated in a larger online study (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 assessed the role of liking in the association between taste words and morphed shapes along the roundness/angularity dimension. In Experiment 4, basic tastants were mapped to the roundness/angularity dimension, while the mediating role of liking for each taste was assessed. Across the 4 experiments, participants consistently matched sweetness to roundness. What is more, people's liking for a taste (but not their liking for imagined tastes) appeared to influence their shape matching responses. These results are discussed in terms of crossmodal correspondences, and a potential role for hedonics is outlined.