Faculty Profile

Carlos Velasco

Associate Professor - Department of Marketing

Biography

Carlos Velasco is an Associate Professor at the Marketing Department, BI Norwegian Business School, where he co-founded the Centre for Multisensory Marketing. He received his D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University. Currently, he is also a Research Fellow at the SCHI Lab at Sussex University (UK).

Carlos' work is at the intersection between psychology, marketing, and human–computer interaction, and focuses on understanding, and capitalizing on, our multisensory experiences and their guiding principles. He has worked, and is currently working, with a number of companies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, on topics such as multisensory experience design, food and drink, packaging, branding, and consumer research. For more information, visit his website.

Area of Expertise

Publications

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Digital sensory marketing: Integrating new technologies into multisensory online experience

Journal of Interactive Marketing, 45, s. 42- 61. Doi: 10.1016/j.intmar.2018.07.004 - Full text in research archive

People are increasingly purchasing (e.g., food, clothes) and consuming (e.g., movies, courses) online where, traditionally, the sensory interaction has mostly been limited to visual, and to a lesser extent, auditory inputs. However, other sensory interfaces (e.g., including touch screens, together with a range of virtual, and augmented solutions) are increasingly being made available to people to interact online. Moreover, recent progress in the field of human–computer interaction means that online environments will likely engage more of the senses and become more connected with offline environments in the coming years. This expansion will likely coincide with an increasing engagement with the consumer's more emotional senses, namely touch/haptics, and possibly even olfaction. Forward-thinking marketers and researchers will therefore need to appropriate the latest tools/technologies in order to deliver richer online experiences for tomorrow's consumers. This review is designed to help the interested reader better understand what sensory marketing in a digital context can offer, thus hopefully opening the way for further research and development in the area.

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Palgrave Macmillan.

Velasco, Carlos; Nijholt, Anton & Karunanayaka, Kasun (2018)

Multisensory Human-Food Interaction

[Scientific book]. Frontiers Media.

Velasco, Carlos; Obrist, Marianna, Petit, Olivia & Spence, Charles (2018)

Multisensory technology for flavor augmentation: A mini review

Frontiers in Psychology, 9(26) Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00026 - Full text in research archive

There is growing interest in the development of new technologies that capitalize on our emerging understanding of the multisensory influences on flavor perception in order to enhance human–food interaction design. This review focuses on the role of (extrinsic) visual, auditory, and haptic/tactile elements in modulating flavor perception and more generally, our food and drink experiences. We review some of the most exciting examples of recent multisensory technologies for augmenting such experiences. Here, we discuss applications for these technologies, for example, in the field of food experience design, in the support of healthy eating, and in the rapidly growing world of sensory marketing. However, as the review makes clear, while there are many opportunities for novel human–food interaction design, there are also a number of challenges that will need to be tackled before new technologies can be meaningfully integrated into our everyday food and drink experiences.

Vi, Chi Thanh; Ablart, Damien, Gatti, Elia, Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2017)

Not just seeing, but also feeling art: Mid-air haptic experiences integrated in a multisensory art exhibition

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 108, s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2017.06.004

Motoki, Kosuke; Saito, Toshiki, Park, Jaewood, Velasco, Carlos, Spence, Charles & Sugiura, Motoaki (2020)

Tasting names: Systematic investigations of taste-speech sounds associations

Food Quality and Preference, 80 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103801

Product names can be developed to effectively convey specific sensory attributes to the consumer. Most of the previous research on crossmodal correspondences has shown that people selectively associate words (e.g., ‘Maluma’, ‘Takete’) with taste attributes. To provide practical insights for naming new products in the food industry, it is important to obtain a more nuanced understanding concerning those properties of speech sounds (i.e., vowels, consonants) influencing people’s taste expectations. In this study, we investigated taste-speech sound correspondences by systematically manipulating the vowels and consonants comprising fictitious brand names. Based on the literature on crossmodal correspondences and sound symbolism, we investigated which vowels/consonants contribute more to the association between speech sounds and tastes (sweet/sour/salty/bitter). Across three experiments, we systematically varied vowels (front: [i][e], back: [a][u][o]), and affricate consonants (e.g., fricative: [f][s], stop: [p][t]) as well as voiced/voiceless consonants (e.g., voiced: [b][d], voiceless: [f][k]). Japanese participants were presented with brand names and had to evaluate the taste that they expected the product to have. The results revealed that: (1) front (back) vowels increased expected sweetness (bitterness), (2) fricative (stop) consonants increased expected sweetness (saltiness/bitterness), (3) voiceless (voiced) consonants increased expected sweetness/sourness (saltiness/bitterness). Moreover, consonants, which were pronounced first in the brand names, exerted a greater influence on expected taste than did the vowels. Taken together, these findings help advance theoretical foundations in sound-taste correspondences research as well as provide practical contributions to the food practitioners to develop predictive product names.

Velasco, Carlos; Pathak, Abhishek, Woods, Andy T., Corredor, Andres & Elliot, Andrew J. (2019)

The relation between symmetry in food packaging and approach and avoidance words

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (QJEP) Doi: 10.1177/1747021819887172 - Full text in research archive

Research on aesthetic science has demonstrated that people generally prefer symmetrical over asymmetrical compositions. However, it remains unclear whether and how such compositions relate to the concepts of approach and avoidance motivation, especially in consumer contexts. In addition, it is not known how symmetry may influence such concepts in contexts where objects can differ in terms of their hedonic values (symmetry/product taste congruency). In the present research, we evaluated the relation between visual symmetry of the packaging of products with different hedonic value (sweet, non-sweet, non-food) and approach and avoidance words. In two experiments, we found evidence that people associate symmetrical designs with approach words more often than asymmetrical designs. Importantly, however, we did not find evidence that such an effect is influenced by the hedonic value of the products. Our results have value for scholars and practitioners interested in the effect of aesthetic features of brand elements (such as a product’s packaging) on consumer motivation.

Spence, Charles; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Velasco, Carlos & Wang, Qian Janice (2019)

Auditory contributions to food perception and consumer behavior

Brill Academic Publishers.

Pathak, Abhishek; Velasco, Carlos, Petit, Olivia & Calvert, Gemma (2019)

Going to great lengths in the pursuit of luxury: How longer brand names can enhance the luxury perception of a brand

Psychology & Marketing Doi: 10.1002/mar.21247 - Full text in research archive

Brand names are a crucial part of the brand equity and marketing strategy of any company. Research suggests that companies spend considerable time and money to create suitable names for their brands and products. This paper uses the Zipf's law (or Principle of Least Effort) to analyze the perceived luxuriousness of brand names. One of the most robust laws in linguistics, Zipf's law describes the inverse relationship between a word's length and its frequency i.e., the more frequently a word is used in language, the shorter it tends to be. Zipf's law has been applied to many fields of science and in this paper, we provide evidence for the idea that because polysyllabic words (and brand names) are rare in everyday conversation, they are considered as more complex, distant, and abstract and that the use of longer brand names can enhance the perception of how luxurious a brand is (compared with shorter brand names, which are considered to be close, frequent, and concrete to consumers). Our results suggest that shorter names (mono‐syllabic) are better suited to basic brands whereas longer names (tri‐syllabic or more) are more appropriate for luxury brands.

Obrist, Marianna; Tu, Yunwen, Yao, Lining & Velasco, Carlos (2019)

Space Food Experiences: Designing Passenger’s Eating Experiences for Future Space Travel Scenarios

Frontiers of Computer Science Doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2019.00003 - Full text in research archive

Given the increasing possibilities of short- and long-term space travel to the Moon and Mars, it is essential not only to design nutritious foods but also to make eating an enjoyable experience. To date, though, perhaps unsurprisingly, most research on space food design has emphasized the functional and nutritional aspects of food, and there are no systematic studies that focus on the human experience of eating in space. It is known, however, that food has a multi-dimensional and multi-sensorial role in societies and that sensory, hedonic, and social features of eating and food design should not be underestimated. Here, we present how research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) can provide a user-centered design approach to co-create innovative ideas around the future of food and eating in space, balancing functional and experiential factors. Based on our research and inspired by advances in human-food interaction design, we have developed three design concepts that integrate and tackle the functional, sensorial, emotional, social, and environmental/atmospheric aspects of “eating experiences in space.” We can particularly capitalize on recent technological advances around digital fabrication, 3D food printing technology, and virtual and augmented reality to enable the design and integration of multisensory eating experiences. We also highlight that in future space travel, the target users will diversify. In relation to such future users, we need to consider not only astronauts (current users, paid to do the job) but also paying customers (non-astronauts) who will be able to book a space holiday to the Moon or Mars. To create the right conditions for space travel and satisfy those users, we need to innovate beyond the initial excitement of designing an “eating like an astronaut” experience. To do so we carried out a three-stage research and design process: (1) first we collected data on users imaginary of eating in space through an online survey (n = 215) to conceptualize eating experiences for short- and long-term space flights (i.e., Moon, Mars); then (2) we iteratively created three design concepts, and finally (3) asked experts in the field for their feedback on our designs. We discuss our results in the context of the wider multisensory experience design and research space.

Pathak, Abhishek; Velasco, Carlos & Calvert, Gemma (2019)

Implicit and Explicit Identification of Counterfeit Brand Logos based on Logotype Transposition

Journal of Product & Brand Management Doi: 10.1108/JPBM-06-2018-1921 - Full text in research archive

Pathak, Abhishek; Velasco, Carlos & Calvert, Gemma (2019)

Identifying counterfeit brandlogos: on the importance of the first and last letters of a logotype

European Journal of Marketing Doi: 10.1108/EJM-09-2017-0586 - Full text in research archive

Counterfeiting is a menace in the emerging markets and many successful brands are falling prey to it. Counterfeit brands not only deceive consumers but also fuel a demand for lower priced replicas, both of which can devalue the bona-fide brand. But can consumers accurately identify a counterfeit logo? This paper aims to explore this question and examines the accuracy and speed with which a consumer can identify a counterfeit (vs original) logo.

Spence, Charles; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Velasco, Carlos & Wang, Qian Janice (2019)

Extrinsic Auditory Contributions to Food Perception & Consumer Behaviour: An Interdisciplinary Review

Multisensory Research, s. 275- 318. Doi: 10.1163/22134808-20191403

Food product-extrinsic sounds (i.e., those auditory stimuli that are not linked directly to a food or beverage product, or its packaging) have been shown to exert a significant influence over various aspects of food perception and consumer behaviour, often operating outside of conscious awareness. In this review, we summarise the latest evidence concerning the various ways in which what we hear can influence what we taste. According to one line of empirical research, background noise interferes with tasting, due to attentional distraction. A separate body of marketing-relevant research demonstrates that music can be used to bias consumers’ food perception, judgments, and purchasing/consumption behaviour in various ways. Some of these effects appear to be driven by the arousal elicited by loud music as well as the entrainment of people’s behaviour to the musical beat. However, semantic priming effects linked to the type and style of music are also relevant. Another route by which music influences food perception comes from the observation that our liking/preference for the music that we happen to be listening to carries over to influence our hedonic judgments of what we are tasting. A final route by which hearing influences tasting relates to the emerging field of ‘sonic seasoning’. A developing body of research now demonstrates that people often rate tasting experiences differently when listening to soundtracks that have been designed to be (or are chosen because they are) congruent with specific flavour experiences (e.g., when compared to when listening to other soundtracks, or else when tasting in silence). Taken together, such results lead to the growing realization that the crossmodal influences of music and noise on food perception and consumer behaviour may have some important if, as yet, unrecognized implications for public health.

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Digital sensory marketing: Integrating new technologies into multisensory online experience

Journal of Interactive Marketing, 45, s. 42- 61. Doi: 10.1016/j.intmar.2018.07.004 - Full text in research archive

People are increasingly purchasing (e.g., food, clothes) and consuming (e.g., movies, courses) online where, traditionally, the sensory interaction has mostly been limited to visual, and to a lesser extent, auditory inputs. However, other sensory interfaces (e.g., including touch screens, together with a range of virtual, and augmented solutions) are increasingly being made available to people to interact online. Moreover, recent progress in the field of human–computer interaction means that online environments will likely engage more of the senses and become more connected with offline environments in the coming years. This expansion will likely coincide with an increasing engagement with the consumer's more emotional senses, namely touch/haptics, and possibly even olfaction. Forward-thinking marketers and researchers will therefore need to appropriate the latest tools/technologies in order to deliver richer online experiences for tomorrow's consumers. This review is designed to help the interested reader better understand what sensory marketing in a digital context can offer, thus hopefully opening the way for further research and development in the area.

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Multisensory consumer-packaging interaction (CPI): The role of new technologies

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

The recent development of various sensory-enabling technologies (SETs) has attracted the interest of those marketers wishing to enhance the online and in-store multisensory experiences that they offer to customers. Such technologies have also proven relevant to the delivery of more engaging multisensory human-food interactions. However, to date, little work has been conducted on their potential role in the interaction between consumers and product packaging, a key element of branding. In this chapter, we present an overview of how the latest SETs can be (and in some cases already are being) incorporated into the packaging of various different products in order to deliver novel multisensory product experiences. We predict that these technologies will increasingly come to enhance the scope of packaging as a marketing communication tool. They might, for instance, be used to project people into consumption experiences, promote brand engagement, as well as improve product evaluation, by means of, say, augmented reality applications. Such technologies will become an increasingly important element in the consumer experience. They may even be able to enhance the perceived sensory properties of products, help in personalization, and/or help regulating our eating behaviour.

Spence, Charles; Velasco, Carlos & Petit, Olivia (2019)

The consumer neuroscience of multisensory packaging design

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Given the explosion of interest in the fields of multisensory packaging design and consumer neuroscience/neuromarketing in recent years, it is natural to wonder what relevance the latter approaches have as far as the optimization of the former is concerned. In this review, we chart the use of neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging by those wishing to understand the neural response of consumers to various examples of multisensory product packaging. The hope is that such insights might one day help businesses to better predict the performance of product packaging, given specific strategic objectives. To date, much of the research has focused simply on determining the network of brain areas that are involved in processing visual images of product packaging. Intriguingly, though, the latest findings now suggest that composite brain measures seen in response to product communication may, under certain conditions at least, be used to predict a product’s sales success in the marketplace. We highlight the key challenges associated with using neuroimaging techniques for packaging research and stress the limitations (such as the challenges associated with assessing the influence of tactile and olfactory attributes of the packaging, as well as collecting repeated measures when consumers interact with the product in its packaging). We end by reviewing the latest insights that have emerged from the use of neuroscience-inspired (consumer neuroscience) techniques (including so-called implicit tests, such as the Implicit Association Test, and eye-tracking), that have managed to overcome some of the limitations associated with neuroimaging.

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Multisensory premium packaging

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Traditionally, the design of brand elements and marketing communications has focused on visual and/or audiovisual attributes in order to convey a specific brand positioning or concept to the consumer. However, the majority of consumers’ everyday experiences go beyond simply just audiovisual inputs. With this in mind, in this chapter, we take an inclusive multisensory approach to the concept of premiumness, one that also incorporates tactile elements and briefly considers the chemical senses. In particular, we present an overview of the concept and review key research findings highlighting specific associations between different sensory attributes and premiumness, luxury, or their specific component dimensions, in the context of product packaging. Generally speaking, there is not yet a great deal of research detailing how to express premiumness via specifically multisensory packaging cues beyond its visual aspects. However, what evidence there is does appear to suggest that the concept can be conveyed through multiple sensory channels, thus positioning this theme as providing a clear opportunity for brand innovation and differentiation.

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

The multisensory analysis of product packaging framework

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

The last few years have seen an ongoing increase of interest in multisensory brand analysis and design. However, with the growing opportunity to design for each and every one of the customer’s senses, comes the challenge of knowing how best to conceptualize multisensory design without immediately becoming overwhelmed by the range of possibilities (not to mention potential multisensory stimulus combinations on offer). In this chapter, the various approaches that have been put forward over the years in order to facilitate intelligent/efficient multisensory design innovation are reviewed. The roles of crossmodal congruency, processing fluency, and sensory dominance in the context of multisensory packaging design are discussed. Based on the broad literature covered, we outline a novel framework for the Multisensory Analysis of Product Packaging (MAPP). We distinguish between different kinds of sensory information, elucidate some of the key ways in which they interact, and highlight a number of the most important questions that ought to be considered when it comes to the design of multisensory product packaging.

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

The role of typeface in packaging design

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Choosing the appropriate typeface and font for use in product packaging is an important part of the design process (or at least it should be). Yet, at the same time, it is also an area that is often neglected in books on packaging. This is particularly surprising given that virtually all packaging incorporates some text (e.g., logotypes, slogans, product information). A growing body of empirical research, however, now demonstrates that typefaces can be used to convey/reinforce specific brand associations. Insights into which features of the typeface might be best suited to conveying (or priming) different meanings emerged from the older research on the semantic differential technique and from more recent research on the crossmodal correspondences. Choosing typeface and font for the packaging that is incongruent with what a product stands for can negatively impact the consumer’s perception/evaluation of a brand. Meanwhile, iconic typefaces may, over time, come to be attached with specific brands, given our repeated exposure to them on packaging in the marketplace. In this chapter, we review the emerging literature on the scientific approach to typeface design, stressing the key role it can play in creating the most persuasive packaging solutions.

Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2019)

Packaging colour and its multiple roles

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (red.). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Colour is a key element in multisensory packaging design and branding. In-store, and increasingly online, it plays an important role in guiding the shopper’s attention. A distinctive colour/colour scheme can also act as a valuable brand asset, signalling a specific brand and everything that it stands for. That said, in many product categories, packaging colour is primarily used to convey product-related information/meaning. In any one of these roles, packaging colour can exert a significant influence over the customer’s product experience even when the latter happens to be consumed away from its packaging. In this review, we highlight the multiple roles played by packaging colour and stress the contextual determinants of its meaning. We also touch on the individual differences in colour associations that can hinder the effective implementation of packaging design for those wanting to deliver colour schemes that convey the ‘right’ meaning to different groups of consumers (e.g., cross-culturally).

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Palgrave Macmillan.

Velasco, Carlos; Adams, Carmen, Petit, Olivia & Spence, Charles (2019)

On the localization of tastes and tasty products in 2D space

Food Quality and Preference, 71, s. 438- 446. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2018.08.018 - Full text in research archive

People map different sensory stimuli, and words that describe/refer to those stimuli, onto spatial dimensions in a manner that is non-arbitrary. Here, we evaluate whether people also associate basic taste words and products with characteristic tastes with a distinctive location (e.g., upper right corner) or a more general direction (e.g., more right than left). Based on prior research on taste and location valence, we predicted that sweetness would be associated with higher vertical spatial positions than the other basic tastes. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 support the view that participants do indeed locate the word “sweet” higher in space than the word “bitter”. In Experiment 2, the participants also positioned products that are typically expected to be sweet (cupcake and honey) or bitter (beer and coffee) spatially. Overall, the sweet-tasting products were assigned to higher locations than were the bitter-tasting products. In order to test whether taste/location congruency would also affect product evaluations, a third experiment was conducted. The results of Experiment 3A (between participants) and 3B (within participants) failed to provide any evidence for the existence of consistent taste/location congruency effects. However, in Experiment 3B, the participants evaluated the sweet products as looking more appetizing when presented in upper relative to lower shelf locations. In none of the three studies was an association found between tastes and positions along the horizontal axis. Taken together, these results suggest that sweet and bitter tastes are differentially located in vertical, but not horizontal, space. The potential implications of these findings for both our understanding of the crossmodal correspondences, as well as for taste evaluation, and product placement are discussed.

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Digital sensory marketing: Integrating new technologies into multisensory online experience

Journal of Interactive Marketing, 45, s. 42- 61. Doi: 10.1016/j.intmar.2018.07.004 - Full text in research archive

People are increasingly purchasing (e.g., food, clothes) and consuming (e.g., movies, courses) online where, traditionally, the sensory interaction has mostly been limited to visual, and to a lesser extent, auditory inputs. However, other sensory interfaces (e.g., including touch screens, together with a range of virtual, and augmented solutions) are increasingly being made available to people to interact online. Moreover, recent progress in the field of human–computer interaction means that online environments will likely engage more of the senses and become more connected with offline environments in the coming years. This expansion will likely coincide with an increasing engagement with the consumer's more emotional senses, namely touch/haptics, and possibly even olfaction. Forward-thinking marketers and researchers will therefore need to appropriate the latest tools/technologies in order to deliver richer online experiences for tomorrow's consumers. This review is designed to help the interested reader better understand what sensory marketing in a digital context can offer, thus hopefully opening the way for further research and development in the area.

Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences

Palgrave Macmillan.

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2018)

Are large portions always bad? Using the Delboeuf illusion on food packaging to nudge consumer behaviour

Marketing letters, 29(4), s. 435- 449. Doi: 10.1007/s11002-018-9473-6

Velasco, Carlos; Beh, Eric J., Le, Tiffany & Marmolejo-Ramos, Fernando (2018)

The shapes associated with the concept of ‘sweet and sour’ foods

Food Quality and Preference, 68(September), s. 250- 257. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2018.03.012 - Full text in research archive

Research on taste-shape correspondences has focused on one-to-one taste/shape matching tasks. However, foods and drinks tend to involve multiple shapes (or shape attributes) and tastes that co-occur at different moments of our eating experiences. In the present research, we assessed whether food concepts involving more than one taste (e.g., “sweet and sour”) would be associated with pairs of round and/or angular shapes. The participants matched pairs comprising angular and round shapes with “sweet and sour” food concepts more often than with other single taste and taste combination concepts, in a manner that is broadly consistent with studies involving one-to-one taste/shape matches. These results were observed both when the participants were presented with the shape pairs alone (Experiment 1) or along with a product’s packaging (Experiment 2). We conclude by presenting possible explanations for the results obtained, as well as directions for future research

Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2018)

On the multiple effects of packaging colour on consumer behaviour and product experience in the ‘food and beverage’ and ‘home and personal care’ categories

Food Quality and Preference, 68, s. 226- 237. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2018.03.008 - Full text in research archive

Colour is perhaps the single most important element as far as the design of multisensory product packaging is concerned. It plays a key role in capturing the attention of the shopper in-store. A distinctive colour, or colour scheme, can also act as a valuable brand attribute (think here only of the signature colour schemes of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate). In many categories, though, colour is used to convey information to the consumer about a product’s sensory properties (e.g., taste or flavour, say), or else to prime other more abstract brand attributes (such as, for example, premium, natural, or healthy). However, packaging colour can also affect the customer’s product experience as well: Indeed, a growing body of empirical research now shows that packaging colour affects everything from the expected and perceived taste and flavour of food and beverage products through to the fragrance of home and personal care items. Packaging colour, then, plays a dominant role at several stages of the consumer’s product experience.

Velasco, Carlos; Obrist, Marianna, Petit, Olivia & Spence, Charles (2018)

Multisensory technology for flavor augmentation: A mini review

Frontiers in Psychology, 9(26) Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00026 - Full text in research archive

There is growing interest in the development of new technologies that capitalize on our emerging understanding of the multisensory influences on flavor perception in order to enhance human–food interaction design. This review focuses on the role of (extrinsic) visual, auditory, and haptic/tactile elements in modulating flavor perception and more generally, our food and drink experiences. We review some of the most exciting examples of recent multisensory technologies for augmenting such experiences. Here, we discuss applications for these technologies, for example, in the field of food experience design, in the support of healthy eating, and in the rapidly growing world of sensory marketing. However, as the review makes clear, while there are many opportunities for novel human–food interaction design, there are also a number of challenges that will need to be tackled before new technologies can be meaningfully integrated into our everyday food and drink experiences.

Velasco, Carlos; Hyndman, Sarah & Spence, Charles (2018)

The role of typeface curvilinearity on taste expectations and perception

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 11, s. 63- 74. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2017.11.007 - Full text in research archive

People associate specific shape properties with basic taste attributes (such as sweet, bitter, and sour). It has been suggested that more preferred visual aesthetic features are matched to sweetness whereas less-preferred features are matched with tastes such as bitter and sour instead. Given the range of visual aesthetic features that have been shown to be associated with typeface designs, it would seem reasonable to suggest that typefaces might therefore be associated with specific taste properties as well. Should that be the case, one might then wonder whether viewing text presented in, say, a rounder typeface would also potentially influence the perception of sweetness, as compared to viewing the same information when presented in a more angular typeface. Here, we summarize the latest findings supporting the existence of a crossmodal correspondence between typeface features, in particular curvilinearity, and basic tastes. Moreover, we present initial evidence that suggests that, under certain circumstances, typeface curvilinearity can influence taste ratings. Given such evidence, it can be argued that typeface may well be an important, if often neglected, aspect of our everyday lives which can be potentially useful in the design of food and drink product and brand experiences.

Turoman, Nora; Velasco, Carlos, Chen, Yi-Chuan, Huang, Pi-Chun & Spence, Charles (2018)

Symmetry and its role in the crossmodal correspondence between shape and taste

Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 80(3), s. 738- 751. Doi: 10.3758/s13414-017-1463-x - Full text in research archive

Despite the rapid growth of research on the crossmodal correspondence between visually presented shapes and basic tastes (e.g., sweet, sour, bitter, and salty), most studies that have been published to date have focused on shape contour (roundness/angularity). Meanwhile, other important features, such as symmetry, as well as the underlying mechanisms of the shape–taste correspondence, have rarely been studied. Over two experiments, we systematically manipulated the symmetry and contours of shapes and measured the influences of these variables on shape–taste correspondences. Furthermore, we investigated a potential underlying mechanism, based on the common affective appraisal of stimuli in different sensory modalities. We replicated the results of previous studies showing that round shapes are associated with sweet taste, whereas angular shapes are associated with sour and bitter tastes. In addition, we demonstrated a novel effect that the symmetry group of a shape influences how it is associated with taste. A significant relationship was observed between the taste and appraisal scores of the shapes, suggesting that the affective factors of pleasantness and threat underlie the shape–taste correspondence. These results were consistent across cultures, when we compared participants from Taiwanese and Western (UK, US, Canada) cultures. Our findings highlight that perceived pleasantness and threat are culturally common factors involved in at least some crossmodal correspondences.

Velasco, Carlos; Obrist, Marianna, Petit, Olivia & Spence, Charles (2018)

Multisensory technology for flavor augmentation: A mini review

Frontiers in Psychology, 9(26) Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00026 - Full text in research archive

There is growing interest in the development of new technologies that capitalize on our emerging understanding of the multisensory influences on flavor perception in order to enhance human–food interaction design. This review focuses on the role of (extrinsic) visual, auditory, and haptic/tactile elements in modulating flavor perception and more generally, our food and drink experiences. We review some of the most exciting examples of recent multisensory technologies for augmenting such experiences. Here, we discuss applications for these technologies, for example, in the field of food experience design, in the support of healthy eating, and in the rapidly growing world of sensory marketing. However, as the review makes clear, while there are many opportunities for novel human–food interaction design, there are also a number of challenges that will need to be tackled before new technologies can be meaningfully integrated into our everyday food and drink experiences.

Reinoso Carvalho, Felipe; Touhafi, Abdellah, Steenhaut, Kris, van Ee, Raymond & Velasco, Carlos (2017)

Using sound to enhance taste experiences: An overview

Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10525 LNCS, s. 316- 330. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-67738-5_19

Ablart, Damien; Velasco, Carlos, Vi, Chi Thanh, Gatti, Elia & Obrist, Marianna (2017)

The how and why behind a multisensory art display

Interactions, 24(6), s. 38- 43. Doi: 10.1145/3137091

Vi, Chi Thanh; Ablart, Damien, Gatti, Elia, Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2017)

Not just seeing, but also feeling art: Mid-air haptic experiences integrated in a multisensory art exhibition

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 108, s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2017.06.004

Spence, Charles; Obrist, Marianna, Velasco, Carlos & Ranasinghe, Nimesha (2017)

Digitizing the chemical senses: Possibilities & pitfalls

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 107, s. 62- 74. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2017.06.003 - Full text in research archive

Abhishek, Pathak; Gemma, Calvert & Velasco, Carlos (2017)

Evaluating the impact of early- and late-acquired phonemes on the luxury appeal of brand names

Journal of Brand Management, 24(6), s. 522- 545. Doi: 10.1057/s41262-017-0048-2

Obrist, Marianna; Gatti, Elia, Maggioni, Emanuela, Vi, Chi Thanh & Velasco, Carlos (2017)

Multisensory Experiences in HCI

IEEE Multimedia, 24(2), s. 9- 13. Doi: 10.1109/MMUL.2017.33

Velasco, Carlos; Woods, Andy T., Wan, Xiaoang, Salgado-Montejo, Alejandro, Bernal-Torres, Cesar, Cheok, Adrian David & Spence, Charles (2017)

The taste of typefaces in different countries and languages

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts Doi: 10.1037/aca0000120 - Full text in research archive

People associate tastes and taste words (e.g., “bitter,” “sweet,” etc.) with shape features in predictable ways. In the present study, we evaluate how the curvature and boldness of typeface influences the gustatory taste (i.e., bitter, salty, sour, and sweet) associated with the typefaces of words written in 3 languages (Spanish, English, and Chinese). The study also included participants from 3 countries: Colombia, the United Kingdom, and China. Consistent with previous research, rounder typefaces were reliably associated with the word sweet, whereas more angular typefaces were associated with the other tastes in all 3 languages and countries. These results provide robust support for the notion that shape curvature is differentially matched to tastes, in a manner that is similar, across countries. Moreover, the results also indicate that all of the participants evaluated the angular typefaces in Spanish and English as more bitter, salty, and sour than the round typefaces in Spanish and English, but this angular/rounded effect was not found with Chinese typefaces. Additionally, the rounder typefaces were evaluated as sweeter than the angular typefaces in all languages and countries. Given that the Chinese round and angular characters differed only in terms of the perceived curvature (not liking, familiarity, and clarity), it is not possible to conclude that liking accounts for all the correspondences that we report. Possible mechanisms and directions for future research are discussed

Petit, Olivia; Spence, Charles, Velasco, Carlos, Woods, Andy T. & Cheok, Adrian David (2017)

Changing the influence of portion size on consumer behavior via imagined consumption

Journal of Business Research, 75, s. 240- 248. Doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.07.021

Van Doorn, George; Woods, Andy T., Levitan, Carmel, Wan, Xiaoang, Velasco, Carlos, Bernal-Torres, Cesar & Spence, Charles (2017)

Does the shape of a cup influence coffee taste expectations? A cross-cultural, online study

Food Quality and Preference, 56, s. 201- 211. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.10.013

Vi, Chi Thanh; Ablart, Damien, Gatti, Elia, Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2017)

Not just seeing, but also feeling art: Mid-air haptic experiences integrated in a multisensory art exhibition

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 108, s. 1- 14. Doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2017.06.004

Spence, Charles; Wang, Qian J, Velasco, Carlos & Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe (1)

Introduction to the special issue on auditory contributions to food perception and consumer behaviour

Multisensory Research [Kronikk]

Velasco, Carlos; Karunanayaka, Kasun & Nijholt, Anton (1)

Editorial: Multisensory Human-Food Interaction

Frontiers in Psychology [Kronikk]

Spence, Charles; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Velasco, Carlos & Wang, Qian Janice (2019)

Extrinsic Auditory Contributions to Food Perception & Consumer Behaviour: an Interdisciplinary Review

Spence, Charles; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Velasco, Carlos & Wang, Qian Janice (red.). Auditory contributions to food perception and consumer behavior

Food product-extrinsic sounds (i.e., those auditory stimuli that are not linked directly to a food or beverage product, or its packaging) have been shown to exert a significant influence over various aspects of food perception and consumer behaviour, often operating outside of conscious awareness. In this review, we summarise the latest evidence concerning the various ways in which what we hear can influence what we taste. According to one line of empirical research, background noise interferes with tasting, due to attentional distraction. A separate body of marketing-relevant research demonstrates that music can be used to bias consumers’ food perception, judgments, and purchasing/consumption behaviour in various ways. Some of these effects appear to be driven by the arousal elicited by loud music as well as the entrainment of people’s behaviour to the musical beat. However, semantic priming effects linked to the type and style of music are also relevant. Another route by which music influences food perception comes from the observation that our liking/preference for the music that we happen to be listening to carries over to influence our hedonic judgments of what we are tasting. A final route by which hearing influences tasting relates to the emerging field of ‘sonic seasoning’. A developing body of research now demonstrates that people often rate tasting experiences differently when listening to soundtracks that have been designed to be (or are chosen because they are) congruent with specific flavour experiences (e.g., when compared to when listening to other soundtracks, or else when tasting in silence). Taken together, such results lead to the growing realization that the crossmodal influences of music and noise on food perception and consumer behaviour may have some important if, as yet, unrecognized implications for public health.

Obrist, Marianna; Tu, Yunwen, Yao, Lining & Velasco, Carlos (2018)

Not just functional, nutritious, but also experiential: Designing eating experiences for space travel

[Academic lecture]. 69th International Astronautical Congress.

Velasco, Carlos; Tu, Yunwen & Obrist, Marianna (2018)

Towards multisensory storytelling with taste and flavor

[Academic lecture]. ICMI.

Velasco, Carlos (2018)

Seasoning food with sound

[Popular scientific article]. The Pembrokian, s. 18- 20.

Velasco, Carlos; Nijholt, Anton & Karunanayaka, Kasun (2018)

Multisensory Human-Food Interaction

[Scientific book]. Frontiers Media.

Obrist, Marianna; Marti, Patrizia, Velasco, Carlos, Tu, Yunwen, Narumi, Takuji & Møller, Naja L. Holten (2018)

The future of computing and food

[Academic lecture]. 2018 International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces.

Velasco, Carlos; Adams, Carmen, Petit, Olivia & Spence, Charles (2018)

Localizing taste and products with characteristic tastes in 2D space

[Academic lecture]. SenseAsia 2018.

Velasco, Carlos; Nijholt, Anton, Obrist, Marianna, Okajima, Katsunori, Schifferstein, Rick & Spence, Charles (2017)

2nd international workshop on multisensorial approaches to human-food interaction

[Academic lecture]. ICMI.

Salgado-Montejo, Alejandro; Velasco, Carlos, Ariza, Luis Eduardo, Salgado, Rodrigo & Moreno, Ana Maria (2017)

The four moments of experience: Streamlining the process of packaging development

[Article in business/trade/industry journal]. ESOMAR Publication Series Volume S378 LA 2017

Velasco, Carlos (2017)

Designing multisensory eating and drinking experiences

[Popular scientific article]. insight+

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2015 Oxford University - Pembroke D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2016 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Assistant Professor
2015 - 2017 University of Oxford Research Affiliate
2015 - 2016 Imagineering Institute Research Fellow
2015 - 2015 University of Sussex Research Fellow