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People tend to associate abstract visual features with basic taste qualities. This narrative historical review critically evaluates the literature on these associations, often referred to as crossmodal correspondences, between basic tastes and visual design features such as color hue and shape curvilinearity. The patterns, discrepancies, and evolution in the development of the research are highlighted while the mappings that have been reported to date are summarized. The review also reflects on issues of cross-cultural validity and deviations in the matching patterns that are observed when correspondences are assessed with actual tastants versus with verbal stimuli. The various theories that have been proposed to account for different classes of crossmodal correspondence are discussed, among which the statistical and affective (or emotional-mediation) accounts currently appear most promising. Several critical research questions for the future are presented to address the gaps that have been identified in the literature and help validate the popular theories on the origin and operations of visual-taste correspondences.

Original publication




Journal article




SAGE Publications

Publication Date





204166952211273 - 204166952211273