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“Bouba” and “Kiki” in Namibia? A remote culture make similar shape–sound matches, but different shape–taste matches to Westerners

Bremner, Andrew J.; Caparos, S.; Davidoff, J.; de Fockert, J.; Linnell, K. J. and Spence, C.. 2013. “Bouba” and “Kiki” in Namibia? A remote culture make similar shape–sound matches, but different shape–taste matches to Westerners. Cognition, 126(2), pp. 165-172. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Western participants consistently match certain shapes with particular speech sounds, tastes, and flavours. Here we demonstrate that the ‘‘Bouba-Kiki effect’’, a well-known shape–sound symbolism effect commonly observed in Western participants, is also observable in the Himba of Northern Namibia, a remote population with little exposure to Western cultural and environmental influences, and who do not use a written language. However, in contrast to Westerners, the Himba did not map carbonation (in a sample of sparkling water) onto an angular (as opposed to a rounded) shape. Furthermore, they also tended to match less bitter (i.e., milk) chocolate samples to angular rather than rounded shapes; the opposite mapping to that shown by Westerners. Together, these results show that cultural–environmental as well as phylogenetic factors play a central role in shaping our repertoire of crossmodal correspondences.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.007

Keywords:

Cross-cultural, Sound symbolism, Shape symbolism, Taste, Flavour, Crossmodal correspondence

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
2013Published

Item ID:

17746

Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2016 11:59

Last Modified:

30 Oct 2017 12:50

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/17746

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