Crossmodal correspondences between sounds and tastes

Abstract

In this article, the rapidly growing body of research that has been published recently on the topic of crossmodal correspondences that involve auditory and gustatory/flavor stimuli is critically reviewed. The evidence demonstrates that people reliably match different tastes/flavors to auditory stimuli varying in both their psychoacoustic (e.g., pitch) and musical (e.g., timbre) properties. In order to stimulate further progress in this relatively young research field, the present article aims at consolidating prior findings concerning specific auditory–gustatory mappings, whereby special attention is given to highlighting (1) any conflicts in the existing experimental evidence and (2) any potential caveats with regard to the most appropriate interpretation of prior studies. Next, potential mechanisms underlying auditory–gustatory crossmodal correspondences are discussed. Finally, a number of potentially fruitful avenues for future research are outlined.