The influence of audiovisual stimuli cuing temperature, carbonation, and color on the categorization of freshness in beverages
Roque J., Lafraire J., Spence C., Auvray M.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The study reported here investigated the influence of audiovisual stimuli signaling the likely temperature (the presence versus absence of ice cubes), the likely level of carbonation (the presence versus absence of bubbles), and the color of the liquid on the categorization of freshness in beverages. Participants made speeded categorization responses (“fresh” versus “not fresh”) concerning the bimodal stimuli. When the stimuli were categorized as fresh, visible ice cubes decreased the participants’ reaction times (RTs) the most, followed by the sound of ice cubes, and then the sound of carbonation. Overall, the participants categorized more the stimuli as fresh in the presence of ice cubes visible in the drink. When presented together, the targeted audiovisual perceptual features exerted an additive effect in both decreasing RTs and increasing the likelihood that beverages would be categorized of fresh. No significant effect of beverage color (manipulated between-participants) was observed. These results are discussed in terms of the crossmodal interaction effects that might be expected to influence the multisensory experience of freshness in beverages. Practical applications: The current appeal of consumers for a global experience of freshness in the food and beverage domain constitutes a promising lever for strategic innovation. Thus, it appears timely to investigate how some sensory cues other than the chemosensory ones (i.e., taste and smell) involved in a multisensory drink experience, namely visual and auditory cues, interact and subsequently impact consumers’ perception and behavior. We believe that the triggering of specific cognitive mechanisms, which may occur during the multisensory integration processes associated with freshness perception could help to increase beverages’ attractiveness and appreciation. The present study thus has important implications for product formulation and marketing design purposes.