Sensation transference from plateware to food: The sounds and tastes of plates
Chen Y., Woods A., Spence C.
Two experiments were designed to extend the well-known Bouba/Kiki effect to the case of an unusual set of commercially-produced plateware, and further to assess the influences of these plates on the expected taste of a dessert based on the theory of crossmodal correspondences. The results show that plates having a smoother circumference are more likely to be matched to “Bouba”, while those with a pointier circumference are more likely to be matched to “Kiki” instead, thus demonstrating the typical Bouba/Kiki effect. Both the shape and colour of the plates modulated people’s ratings of the expected taste and liking of the dessert displayed on them. Specifically, the colour of the plate induced a general effect on taste expectations that was consistent with the white-sweet and black-bitter associations. The shape of the plate modulated the rating of expected liking for the chocolate ice-cream, and the expected sweetness of the lemon sorbet, respectively. Finally, colour and shape conjointly modulated the expected sourness of the lemon sorbet. The insights from such results are relevant to optimizing the visual appearance of specific dishes in restaurants and on product packaging.