The Role of Pitch and Tempo in Sound-Temperature Crossmodal Correspondences.
Wang QJ., Spence C.
We explored the putative existence of crossmodal correspondences between sound attributes and beverage temperature. An online pre-study was conducted first, in order to determine whether people would associate the auditory parameters of pitch and tempo with different imagined beverage temperatures. The same melody was manipulated to create a matrix of 25 variants with five different levels of both pitch and tempo. The participants were instructed to imagine consuming hot, room-temperature, or cold water, then to choose the melody that best matched the imagined drinking experience. The results revealed that imagining drinking cold water was associated with a significantly higher pitch than drinking both room-temperature and hot water, and with significantly faster tempo than room-temperature water. Next, the online study was replicated with participants in the lab tasting samples of hot, room-temperature, and cold water while choosing a melody that best matched the actual tasting experience. The results confirmed that, compared to room-temperature and hot water, the experience of cold water was associated with both significantly higher pitch and fast tempo. Possible mechanisms and potential applications of these results are discussed.