Crossmodal Associations Between Visual Textures and Temperature Concepts

Francisco Barbosa Escobar*, Carlos Velasco, Derek Victor Byrne, Qian Janice Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

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Visual textures are critical in how individuals form sensory expectations about objects, which include somatosensory properties such as temperature. This study aimed to uncover crossmodal associations between visual textures and temperature concepts. In Experiment 1 (N = 193), we evaluated crossmodal associations between 43 visual texture categories and different temperature concepts (via temperature words such as cold and hot) using an explicit forced-choice test. The results revealed associations between striped, cracked, matted, and waffled visual textures and high temperatures and between crystalline and flecked visual textures and low temperatures. In Experiment 2 (N = 247), we conducted six implicit association tests (IATs) pairing the two visual textures most strongly associated with low (crystalline and flecked) and high (striped and cracked) temperatures with the words cold and hot as per the results of Experiment 1. When pairing the crystalline and striped visual textures, the results revealed that crystalline was matched to the word cold, and striped was matched to the word hot. However, some associations found in the explicit test were not found in the IATs. In Experiment 3 (N = 124), we investigated how mappings between visual textures and concrete entities may influence crossmodal associations with temperature and these visual textures. Altogether, we found a range of association strengths and automaticity levels. Importantly, we found evidence of relative effects. Furthermore, some of these crossmodal associations are partly influenced by indirect mappings to concrete entities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)731-761
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Automaticity
  • Crossmodal correspondences
  • Temperature
  • Visual textures

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