Tasty Vibes: Uncovering Crossmodal Correspondences Between Tactile Vibrations and Basic Tastes

Francisco Jose Barbosa Escobar*, Qian Janice Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The interest in crossmodal correspondences individually involving the sense of touch and taste has grown rapidly in the last few decades. Several correspondences involving different tactile dimensions (e.g., hardness/softness, roughness/smoothness) have been uncovered, such as those between sweetness and softness and between roughness and sourness. However, a dimension that has been long overlooked, despite its pervasiveness and importance in everyday experiences, relates to tactile vibrations. The present study aimed to fill this gap and investigate crossmodal correspondences between basic tastes and vibrations. In the present study (N = 72), we uncovered these associations by having participants sampling basic taste (i.e., sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami) aqueous solutions and chose the frequency of vibrations, delivered via a consumer-grade subwoofer wristband on their dominant hand, that they most strongly associated with each taste. We found that sourness was most strongly associated with frequencies around 98 Hz, and that sweetness and umami were associated with frequencies around 77 Hz. These correspondences may, to different extents, be based on affective and semantic mechanisms. The findings have relevant implications for theoretical research on multisensory integration and perception and the potential future applications of these associations, through wearable technologies, to enhance eating experiences and promote healthier eating habits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113613
JournalFood Research International
Volume174
Issue numberPart 1
Number of pages30
ISSN0963-9969
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 21 October 2023.

Keywords

  • Crossmodal correspondences
  • Vibrations
  • Touch
  • Frequency
  • Basic tastes
  • Affect
  • Semantic

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