2010 volume 39(3) pages 417 – 425

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Crisinel A-S, Spence C, 2010, "A sweet sound? Food names reveal implicit associations between taste and pitch" Perception 39(3) 417 – 425

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A sweet sound? Food names reveal implicit associations between taste and pitch

Anne-Sylvie Crisinel, Charles Spence

Received 13 September 2009, in revised form 15 December 2009; published online 2 March 2010

Abstract. Sounds (high- and low-pitched) have been shown to be implicitly associated with basic tastes (sour and bitter—see Crisinel and Spence, 2009 Neuroscience Letters 464 39 – 42). In the present study, a version of the implicit association test was used to assess the strength of the association between high-pitched sounds and names of sweet-tasting foodstuffs, and between low-pitched sounds and names of salty-tasting foodstuffs (experiment 1). A similar task, the go/no-go association task was then used to evaluate the relative strengths of these associations (experiment 2). Analysis of the sensitivity of participants’ responses suggested that both sour- and sweet-tasting (names of) food items were associated with high-pitched sounds. This result highlights the existence of robust cross-modal associations between certain sounds and basic tastes.

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