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Crossmodal Effects of Product Sound on Taste Perception

abstract Recently, there has been a growing interest by researchers to understand various crossmodal effects in consumer behavior - the phenomenon whereby information available in one sensory modality influences evaluations in another sensory modality. The proposed research adds to this evolving stream of research by examining the crossmodal influence of acoustic cues on taste perceptions in the context of consumers' multisensory product experience. The research project involves four laboratory experiments, two of which (experiments 1 and 2) have already been conducted.
Experiment 1 shows that coffee machine sounds orthogonally manipulated with regard to their psychoacoustic properties can influence subsequent coffee taste experiences. Experiment 2 replicates the results of experiment 1 in an ecologically valid setting involving real products with technically modified acoustic properties. This experiment also demonstrates that the effect of product sound on taste is moderated by consumers' individual product sound enjoyment. That is, individuals with higher product sound enjoyment are more susceptible to the crossmodal effect. Experiment 3 (planned) will further examine the reliability of the moderation effect found in experiment 2. In addition, it will explore the psychological processes underlying the effect of sound on taste, with cognitive processes (coffee machine inferences) rather than affective processes being expected to mediate the influence of machine sound on coffee taste. Experiment 4 (planned) will validate the mediating role of coffee machine inferences by introducing a cognitive load manipulation that is expected to attenuate the effect of sound on taste.

The proposed research extends previous findings in sensory marketing in several important ways: First, it shows for the first time that acoustic cues can crossmodally affect taste evaluations even if the two sensory events are separated in time. Second, it will shed light on the psychological processes underlying multisensory product perception. Third, it will allow to identify boundary conditions of multimodal interactions. From a practitioner's perspective, the research project highlights the importance of taking into account crossmodal interactions early in the product design process.
   
keywords Product Design, Quantitative Methods, Multisensory Perception
   
partner Prof. Charles Spence, University of Oxford
type fundamental research project
status ongoing
start of project 2012
end of project 2012
additional informations
topics Product Design, Quantitative Methods, Multisensory Perception, Intermodal Integration
methods Quantitative Research
contact Klemens Knöferle