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This chapter highlights the roles of the various senses and their interplay when people interact with different products. Besides highlighting the key theoretical debates in this area, the discussion centers on empirical data gathered in well-controlled experimental studies, as well as on survey data. It also highlights a number of examples where the theoretical principles of multisensory perception have actually been incorporated and tested in the design of everyday products. It describes a particular topic and then critically discusses a number of scientific studies that have investigated this topic. Typically, each topic can be characterized not only by its content but also by the specific approaches and research methods that are used. Additionally, where possible it outlines how this knowledge is used or can be used in the development of new products. It reviews what happens when people switch their attention between different sensory systems. Given that the senses typically do not work in isolation, but rather operate as an integrated whole, it discusses the links that people experience intuitively between phenomena occurring in different sensory modalities and the ways in which sensory information from the different modalities is integrated into a holistic product experience. Furthermore, it highlights some of the important emerging challenges currently facing researchers and designers in the area of multisensory product design. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article

Publication Date



133 - 161