Title

The Sounds of Colors and Tastes: An Experimental Extension of the Bouba Kiki Effect

Presenter Information

Bridgett Kawachi

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

13-5-2014

Keywords

Linguistics, Bouba Kiki Effect, Synesthesia

Abstract

The Bouba Kiki effect refers to a correlation between shapes and sounds that transcends cultural barriers. It has been demonstrated experimentally that individuals of all ages and cultures will tend to associate a rounded shape with the sound “bouba” and an angular shape with the sound “kiki” (Maurer, Pathman, & Mondloch, 2006). This association lends support to the hypothesis that language evolved from sounds linked with concepts, prior to the development of more complex speech. In this study, I asked if the Bouba Kiki effect could be extended to the concepts of color and taste. Eighty-five child and adult participants were each asked to characterize a range of warm and cool colors as either “bouba” or “kiki”. These participants were further presented with sparkling and flat water, and milk and dark chocolate, and asked to characterize the taste as a “bouba” or a “kiki”. The colors blue and red were consistently respectively identified as “bouba” or “kiki”. A strong association was also demonstrated between the taste of milk and dark chocolate and the two sounds. I tentatively conclude that the Bouba Kiki effect extends to concepts other than shape, and propose refinements to the methodology that would explore the effect of age and cognitive development on these associations.

This presentation received a University Centers Best Poster Presentation Award, 2014.

Poster Number

1

Faculty Mentor(s)

Vanessa, Hunt

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 13th, 12:00 PM

The Sounds of Colors and Tastes: An Experimental Extension of the Bouba Kiki Effect

The Bouba Kiki effect refers to a correlation between shapes and sounds that transcends cultural barriers. It has been demonstrated experimentally that individuals of all ages and cultures will tend to associate a rounded shape with the sound “bouba” and an angular shape with the sound “kiki” (Maurer, Pathman, & Mondloch, 2006). This association lends support to the hypothesis that language evolved from sounds linked with concepts, prior to the development of more complex speech. In this study, I asked if the Bouba Kiki effect could be extended to the concepts of color and taste. Eighty-five child and adult participants were each asked to characterize a range of warm and cool colors as either “bouba” or “kiki”. These participants were further presented with sparkling and flat water, and milk and dark chocolate, and asked to characterize the taste as a “bouba” or a “kiki”. The colors blue and red were consistently respectively identified as “bouba” or “kiki”. A strong association was also demonstrated between the taste of milk and dark chocolate and the two sounds. I tentatively conclude that the Bouba Kiki effect extends to concepts other than shape, and propose refinements to the methodology that would explore the effect of age and cognitive development on these associations.

This presentation received a University Centers Best Poster Presentation Award, 2014.