Employee Profile

Carlos Velasco

Associate Professor - Department of Marketing


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.

His 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. Carlos' research has been published in a number of journals and conference proceedings in said fields, including Food Quality and Preference, Food Research International, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Research, and Psychology and Marketing, JEP: Human Perception and Performance, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, CHI, ICMI, IMX. He's also acting as an Editorial Board in Food Quality and Preference, Jounral of Business Research, Psychology and Marketing, the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, and the International Journal of Food Design.

Carlos published the book "Multisensory experiences: Where the senses meet technology" (2020, Oxford University Press) and the edited collection "Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences" (2019, Palgrave Macmillan). Currently, Carlos is co-hosting the "customer experience management" podcast, which can be accessed here.

He has also worked, and is currently working, with a number of companies from around the world on topics such as multisensory experiences, mixed reality, web3, food and drink, branding, and consumer research. For more information, visit his website.

Area of Expertise


Wang, Qian Janice; Barbosa Escobar, Francisco, Alves Da Mota, Patricia & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Getting started with virtual reality for sensory and consumer science: Current practices and future perspectives

Food Research International, 145 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110410 - Full text in research archive

While virtual reality (VR) has become increasingly popular in food-related research, there has been a lack of clarity, precision, and guidelines regarding what exactly constitutes a virtual reality study, as well as the options available to the researcher for designing and implementing it. This review provides a practical guide for sensory and consumer scientists interested in exploring the emerging opportunities offered by VR. We take a deep dive into the components that make up a VR study, including hardware, software, and response measurement methods, all the while being grounded in immersion and presence theory. We then review how these building blocks are put together to create two major categories of research scenarios: product selection, which can be entirely created in VR, and food evaluation, which involve tasting products in real life. For each category, we review current literature with a focus on experimental design, then highlight future avenues and technical development opportunities within sensory and consumer research. Finally, we evaluate limitations and ethical issues in VR food research, and offer future perspectives which go above and beyond ensuring ecological validity in product testing.

Petit, Olivia; Javornik, Ana & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

We Eat First with Our (Digital) Eyes: Enhancing Mental Simulation of Eating Experiences via Visual-Enabling Technologies

Journal of Retailing Doi: 10.1016/j.jretai.2021.04.003

This research examines how consumers’ intentions to purchase food change depending on the visualisation mode (3D vs. AR) and product format (served vs. packaged). In three studies, we demonstrate that mental simulation of eating experiences (process and outcome) mediate these effects. Study 1 shows that AR visualisation of a served food improves simulation of the eating process over 3D visualisation, with a positive effect on purchase intention. Study 2 reveals that 3D visualisation improves purchase intention for packaged products (high instrumental properties) over served products (low instrumental properties) while the opposite is true for AR visualisation. In addition, interactivity and immersion mediate the effects of 3D (vs. AR) on mental simulation of the eating process for packaged products. Study 3 extends these results by showing that 3D increases purchase intention by eliciting mental simulation of the eating outcome, when the food is visible due to transparent (vs. opaque) packaging (displaying both sensory and instrumental properties), but that no such differences emerge for AR. This research highlights the importance of using different visualisation modes to promote food depending on the product format. The findings have important implications for both offline and online retailers.

Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2021)

Multisensory Experiences: A Primer

Frontiers in Computer Science, 3 Doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2021.614524 - Full text in research archive

We present a primer on multisensory experiences, the different components of this concept, as well as a reflection of its implications for individuals and society. We define multisensory experiences, illustrate how to understand them, elaborate on the role of technology in such experiences, and present the three laws of multisensory experiences, which can guide discussion on their implications. Further, we introduce the case of multisensory experiences in the context of eating and human-food interaction to illustrate how its components operationalize. We expect that this article provides a first point of contact for those interested in multisensory experiences, as well as multisensory experiences in the context of human-food interaction.

Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2020)

Multisensory Experiences: Where the senses meet technology

Oxford University Press.

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; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Barbosa Escobar, Francisco, Gustafsson, Anders & Petit, Olivia (2024)

Paradoxes, challenges, and opportunities in the context of ethical customer experience management

Psychology & Marketing

Spence, Charles; Di Stefano, Nicola, Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe & Velasco, Carlos (2024)

Marketing sonified fragrance: Designing soundscapes for scent


Velasco, Carlos; Vargas, Jessica & Petit, Olivia (2024)

Multisensory experiences and technology in the context of wine experiences

Journal of Wine Research Doi: 10.1080/09571264.2024.2310304 - Full text in research archive

Alvarado, Jorge Andres; Velasco, Carlos & Salgado-Montejo, Alejandro (2024)

The organization of semantic associations between senses in language

Language and Cognition, s. 1- 30. Doi: 10.1017/langcog.2024.19

Motoki, Kosuke; Bunya, Ayana, Park, Jaewoo & Velasco, Carlos (2024)

Decoding the meaning of alternative proteins: Connotations and music-matching

Food Quality and Preference, 115 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2024.105117

Chuquichambi, Erick Gustavo; Munar, Enric, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2024)

Individual differences in sensitivity to taste-shape crossmodal correspondences

Food Quality and Preference, 115 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2024.105110

People generally associate curved and symmetrical shapes with sweetness, while associating angular and asymmetrical shapes with the other basic tastes (e.g., sour, bitter). However, these group-level taste-shape correspondences likely conceal important variation at an individual-level. We examined the extent to which individuals vary in their sensitivity to crossmodal correspondence between curvature and symmetry, on the one hand, and the five basic taste qualities (sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami), on the other. In Experiment 1, participants matched shapes (curved vs. angular, symmetrical vs. asymmetrical) and taste words. In Experiment 2, participants performed a similar task, though this time using actual tastants. Given that people differ in their hedonic experience of such shapes and tastes, we also measured participants’ liking for each taste and shape separately. The results replicate the general crossmodal correspondences between curved-sweet and symmetrical-sweet stimuli. Furthermore, participants tended to match sour and bitter tastes with angular and asymmetrical stimuli. However, these group-level taste-shape correspondences coexist alongside substantial variation at the level of the individual. While some participants consistently matched specific tastes with curved and symmetrical stimuli, others consistently matched these tastes with angular and asymmetrical stimuli, or else did not show these taste-shape correspondences. Liking for curved and symmetrical stimuli was higher than for angular and asymmetrical stimuli. However, participants also differed considerably in the extent to which these visual features affected their liking. Overall, our findings highlight the substantial individual differences that are associated with the degree to which people associate and like shapes and tastes.

Obrist, Marianna & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Memory Bites: From Earth to Space and Back

Interactions, 30(6), s. 24- 29. Doi: 10.1145/3624670

Motoki, Kosuke; Marks, Lawrence & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Reflections on Cross-Modal Correspondences: Current Understanding and Issues for Future Research

Multisensory Research, 6, s. 1- 23. Doi: 10.1163/22134808-bja10114 - Full text in research archive

The past two decades have seen an explosion of research on cross-modal correspondences. Broadly speaking, this term has been used to encompass associations between and among features, dimensions, or attributes across the senses. There has been an increasing interest in this topic amongst researchers from multiple fields (psychology, neuroscience, music, art, environmental design, etc.) and, importantly, an increasing breadth of the topic’s scope. Here, this narrative review aims to reflect on what cross-modal correspondences are, where they come from, and what underlies them. We suggest that cross-modal correspondences are usefully conceived as relative associations between different actual or imagined sensory stimuli, many of these correspondences being shared by most people. A taxonomy of correspondences with four major kinds of associations (physiological, semantic, statistical, and affective) characterizes cross-modal correspondences. Sensory dimensions (quantity/quality) and sensory features (lower perceptual/higher cognitive) correspond in cross-modal correspondences. Cross-modal correspondences may be understood (or measured) from two complementary perspectives: the phenomenal view (perceptual experiences of subjective matching) and the behavioural response view (observable patterns of behavioural response to multiple sensory stimuli). Importantly, we reflect on remaining questions and standing issues that need to be addressed in order to develop an explanatory framework for cross-modal correspondences. Future research needs (a) to understand better when (and why) phenomenal and behavioural measures are coincidental and when they are not, and, ideally, (b) to determine whether different kinds of cross-modal correspondence (quantity/quality, lower perceptual/higher cognitive) rely on the same or different mechanisms.

Velasco, Carlos; Escobar Barbosa, Francisco, Spence, Charles & Olier, Juan Sebastian (2023)

The taste of colours

Food Quality and Preference, 112 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.105009 - Full text in research archive

A multitude of crossmodal correspondences have now been documented between taste (gustation) and visual features (such as hue). In the present study, new analytical methods are used to investigate taste-colour correspondences in a more fine-grained manner while also investigating potential underlying mechanisms. In Experiment 1, image processing analysis is used to evaluate whether searching online for visual images associated with specific taste words (e.g., bitter, sweet) generates outcomes with colour proportions similar to those that have been documented in the literature on taste–colour correspondences. Colour–taste matching tasks incorporating a much wider colour space than tested in previous studies, were assessed in Experiments 2 and 3. Experiments 3 and 4 assessed the extent to which the statistical regularities of the environment, as captured by food object categories, might help to explain the aforementioned correspondences and to what extent the correspondences are present in online content associated with specific tastes, respectively. Experiment 5 evaluated the role of statistical regularities in underpinning colour-taste correspondences related to the stage of ripening of fruit. Overall, the findings revealed consistent associations between specific colours and tastes, in a more nuanced manner than demonstrated in previous studies, while at the same time also showing that both food object categories and the stage of fruit ripening significantly influenced colour and taste perceptions. This, in turn, suggests that people might base these correspondences on both the foods present in their environments, as well as the natural changes that they undergo as they ripen. The results are discussed in light of the different accounts that have been suggested to explain colour-taste correspondences.

Motoki, Kosuke; Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

When visual cues influence taste/flavour perception: A systematic review

Food Quality and Preference, 111 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.104996

There has been a noticeable increase of interest in research on multisensory flavour perception in recent years. Humans are visually dominant creatures and a growing body of research has investigated how visual cues influence taste/flavour perception. At the same time, however, several null or limited findings have also been published recently; that is, studies showing either partial demonstrations or else failing to find any evidence in their data for the influence of specific visual cues on taste/flavour perception. By performing a systematic review and a critical evaluation of the literature that has been published to date, the present paper reveals whether and when visual cues (e.g., colour and shape) affect taste/flavour perception: The reviewed research demonstrates that visual cues can significantly affect taste/flavour perception under certain conditions, but that mixed, limited, and/or null results have also been reported in a number of other studies. We discuss potential moderators (the salience/attentional capture of visual cues, the strength of association between visual cues and taste/flavour, the perceived diagnosticity of visual cues regarding the signalling of taste/flavour, the evaluative malleability of food judgments) that might help to explain a number of the inconsistent findings that have appeared in the literature since 2011. Several important areas of future research in this area of inquiry are also identified.

Velasco, Carlos; Corradi, Guido & Motoki, Kosuke (2023)

Harmony of senses: Exploring the impact of sound aesthetic features' on taste imagery

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.104992 - Full text in research archive

People reliably associate visual aesthetic features such as curvature and symmetry with tastes. In the present study, considering the transitive hypothesis of crossmodal correspondences, we evaluated whether these findings would extend to the relationship between sound aesthetic features and tastes, and whether feature-based congruency or affective priming would explain the influence of melodies on taste imagery. In Experiment 1, we evaluated how people associate different melody profiles (balanced vs. unbalanced, smooth vs. jagged, symmetrical vs. asymmetrical, simpler vs. more complex) with different tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty), as well as the melodies' associated fluency, valence, and arousal. Smooth and complex melodies were perceived as sweeter, jagged and unbalanced melodies as sourer, asymmetrical and jagged melodies as more bitter, and jagged and balanced melodies as saltier. In Experiment 2, we selected the most strongly associated aesthetic sound dimension with tastes, namely contour, and evaluated whether crossmodal congruency, based on crossmodal correspondences, or affective priming would influence people’s sensory and hedonic imagery associated with sweet and sour foods. In the imagery tasks, the participants showed higher sour ratings in the sourness task and higher sweetness ratings in the sweetness task. In the sweet imagery task, smooth melodies led to sweeter and less sour food imagery, whereas jagged melodies in the sourness task led to more sour and less sweet food imagery. These results favour the crossmodal congruency explanation rather than the affective alternative, which we ponder in the general discussion.

Tran, Huy; Veflen, Nina, Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe, Tabassum, Farhana & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Seasonal multisensory eating experiences in Norway and Colombia

Food Quality and Preference, 109 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.104873 - Full text in research archive

Research on multisensory food perception suggests that most of our senses can influence eating experiences (Spence, 2020). The present research evaluates how different senses are engaged across country-specific eating experiences. Our goal is to explore each country's prototypical multisensory eating experience throughout the seasons. In Study 1A and 1B, we used the Sensory Perception Item (SPI) scale by Haase and Wiedmann (2018) in Norway (n = 104, M age = 40.73) and Colombia (n = 130, M age = 37.81), to assess how visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory dimensions are engaged in each country’s specific eating experiences and across seasons (Norway: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring; Colombia: Humid, Dry, Cold, Hot). All of the sensory dimensions in Norway, except touch, were significantly influenced by seasons. In Colombia, seasons and climates were only significant for touch and olfaction. In Study 2A and 2B, we evaluated specific sensory components of the eating experiences in Norway (n = 83, M age = 39.1) and Colombia (n = 64, M age = 40.64). Seasons significantly affected several sensory dimensions of the eating experiences in Norway but not in Colombia. Furthermore, we obtained keywords that reflected participants eating experiences across the four seasons. This study provides insights on how the statistical regularities of food experience environments might change throughout certain seasons, climates, and geographical contexts. Restaurant managers can think of changing the ambience settings of the dining rooms to match the image people associate with each season, transferring the external environment into the internal dining atmosphere as one of the innovative ways to enhance eating experiences.

Yilmaz, Tuba; Sagfossen, Sofie & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

What makes NFTs valuable to consumers? Perceived value drivers associated with NFTs liking, purchasing, and holding

Journal of Business Research, 165 Doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2023.114056

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets that exist in a given blockchain. NFT projects, containing unique collections of these assets, are blockchain-based companies that deliver value to customers. Why do people buy NFTs paying up to millions of dollars? Given the lack of studies on what makes NFTs valuable to consumers, we conceptualized the NFT journey through an analysis of the customer journey and the current NFT space dynamics, assessing key stage-based value drivers. We developed the temporal dimension of value perception in the digital asset journey, conceptualizing it as three distinct interaction stages with NFT collections: liking, purchasing, and holding or selling. Then, throughout three studies involving NFT users, we assessed the drivers associated with these stages. Using consumer-based value theory, we identified and categorized distinct drivers of value and examined the dynamics of these drivers across all stages. This exploratory study lays a foundation for future digital asset value research.

Escobar Barbosa, Francisco; Velasco, Carlos, Byrne, Derek V. & Wang, Qian J (2023)

Assessing Mechanisms Behind Crossmodal Associations Between Visual Textures and Temperature Concepts

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 49(6), s. 923- 947. Doi: 10.1037/xhp0001131 - Full text in research archive

In the last decades, there has been a growing interest in crossmodal correspondences, including those involving temperature. However, only a few studies have explicitly examined the underlying mechanisms behind temperature-related correspondences. Here, we investigated the relative roles of an underlying affective mechanism and a semantic path (i.e., regarding the semantic knowledge related to a single common source identity or meaning) in crossmodal associations between visual textures and temperature concepts using an associative learning paradigm. Two online experiments using visual textures previously shown to be associated with low and high thermal effusivity (Experiment 1) and visual textures with no consensual associations with thermal effusivity (Experiment 2) were conducted. Participants completed a speeded categorization task before and after an associative learning task, in which they learned mappings between the visual textures and specific affective or semantic stimuli related to low and high temperatures. Across the two experiments, both the affective and semantic mappings influenced the categorization of visual textures with the hypothesized temperatures, but there was no influence on the reaction times. The effect of learning semantic mappings was larger than that of affective ones in both experiments, suggesting that a semantic path has more weight than an affective mechanism in the formation of the associations studied here. The associations studied here could be modified through associative learning establishing correlations between visual textures and either affective or semantic stimuli.

Romeo, Elena; Jensen, Henrik, Hunneman, Auke & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Assessing the influence of packaging design symmetry, curvature, and mark on the perception of brand premiumness

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 31 Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2022.100656 - Full text in research archive

Veflen, Nina; Velasco, Carlos & Kraggerud, Hilde (2023)

Signalling taste through packaging: The effects of shape and colour on consumers’ perceptions of cheeses

Food Quality and Preference, 104 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104742 - Full text in research archive

This paper questions whether manufacturers can utilize visual packaging cues, in particular colours and shapes, to communicate the intrinsic attributes of cheeses. While the existence of crossmodal correspondences between packaging shapes and tastes have been demonstrated in previous food studies, we still need knowledge about how the interaction of colour and shape of the packaging that the cheese is sold influence customers’ expectations of taste and liking. Throughout two studies, we illustrate that specific shapes and colours communicate certain cheese tastes. In study 1, we found that, while a mild tasting cheese is associated with round shapes, high colour brightness and low colour saturation, a sharp tasting cheese is associated with an angular shape, lower level of colour brightness and higher level of colour saturation. This knowledge can be utilized to communicate taste via the design of the packaging. In study 2, we moved on to test this via packaging. We found that a round shaped packaging combined with high colour brightness and low colour saturation communicates a mild taste, whereas a triangular shape packaging combined with a low colour brightness/ high saturation signals a sharper tasting cheese. Moreover, a round packaging elicits the highest degree of liking. Our findings demonstrate that multiple sensory elements of a product’s packaging can enhance respondents’ taste expectations and expected liking of a product. In conclusion, this paper offers guidance to managers seeking to design packaging that communicates the flavour of food products, specifically for cheeses.

Deng, Jialin; Bertran, Ferran Altarriba, Obrist, Marianna, Mueller, Florian 'Floyd' & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Sketching the future of human-food interaction: Emerging directions for future practice

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 31 Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2022.100629

Motoki, Kosuke; Nakahara, Takanobu & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Tasting brands: Associations between brand personality and tastes

Journal of Business Research, 156 Doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2022.113509

Garcia, Vicente Casales; Gonzalez-Abril, Luis, Veflen, Nina & Velasco, Carlos (2023)

Assessing the influence of colour and glass type on beer expectations

Food Quality and Preference, 103 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104701 - Full text in research archive

We evaluated how beer colour and glass type interact when it comes to forming beer expectations. Following previous research, we predicted that, given that colour is a dominant feature in food and beverage expectations, it would modulate the effects of glass type on beer expectations. One hundred and ninety-five participants from the United Kingdom took part in the experiment, which followed a 6 × 7 within-participants experimental design, with factors glass type (Pilsner, Pint, Tulip, Chalice, Weissbier, and Mug) and colour (yellow, blue, brown, orange, black, red, and green). Our results revealed that whilst colour influenced the expectations-based sensory-discriminative, hedonic, and willingness to pay (WTP) ratings, glass type influenced all variables but intensity and WTP. Importantly, all the variables for which glass type had a main effect were followed by a significant interaction. The results indicate that, the extent to which an extrinsic beer element, namely glass, influences expectations, depends on the associations that people have with colour, an intrinsic beer property closely related to beer type. We discuss the implications of our results for the design of beer expectations.

Velasco, Carlos; Escobar Barbosa, Francisco & Petit, Olivia (2022)

Ethics of experience design and management in the context of digital transformations

Morals + Machines Doi: 10.5771/2747-5174-2022-2

Motoki, Kosuke; Saito, Toshiki & Velasco, Carlos (2022)

Spontaneous crossmodal correspondences grounded in contexts

Food Quality and Preference, 100 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104619 - Full text in research archive

Thoughts and associations are spontaneously generated and situated. A growing body of research on crossmodal correspondences has revealed that individuals tend to associate information across sensory modalities. However, most of the findings have been based on restricted sensory pairs/items and the role of context remains largely unexplored. Relying on crossmodal correspondence studies and the theory of situated conceptualization, the present study aimed to study spontaneous crossmodal correspondences and the role of context (background settings, culture) in modulating them. Japanese and British participants (n = 604) were presented with shape stimuli (round and angular) and spontaneously generated words describing the stimuli in different contexts (geometric shapes, logo in food packaging, and logo in non-food products). The results demonstrated that individuals spontaneously associate shape features with different senses, something that is influenced by context (background settings, culture). Geometric shapes were associated with visual and auditory descriptors, while shapes in the food context were linked with chemosensory (olfactory and taste) descriptors. Moreover, Japanese participants were more likely to generate touch descriptors, while British participants were more likely to use auditory descriptors. Together, our findings reveal how multisensory associations are spontaneously generated and how these associations are grounded in contexts.

Escobar, Francisco Jose Barbosa; Wang, Qian Janice, Corredor, Andres & Velasco, Carlos (2022)

The taste of visual textures

Food Quality and Preference, 100 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104602 - Full text in research archive

Numerous crossmodal correspondences between visual elements and basic tastes have been documented in recent years. Research has shown that many of these correspondences can influence taste expectations when applied in food packaging. However, research on correspondences between visual textures and tastes is scarce, despite the ability of the former to convey specific information about materials and objects. In the present study, we conducted two online experiments designed to study crossmodal correspondences between basic taste words and visual textures with common material properties. In Experiment 1 (N = 194), we evaluated explicit associations between six visual texture categories (with four levels of each category) and basic taste words. The results revealed moderate associations between one of the fluffy visual textures and sweetness and between a rough and a crunchy visual texture and saltiness. In Experiment 2 (N = 407), we superimposed the visual textures associated with the basic tastes found in Experiment 1 on food extrinsic factors (i.e., packaging, napkin) served in combination with products of three taste qualities (i.e., neutral/ambiguous, sweet, salty). We did not find evidence supporting the idea that visual textures that are crossmodally corresponding to specific tastes, as revealed in Experiment 1, influenced taste expectations. The results of the study suggest that the strength of the crossmodal correspondence between visual textures and basic taste words studied here is moderate.

Petit, Olivia; Velasco, Carlos, Wang, Qian J & Spence, Charles (2022)

Consumer Consciousness in Multisensory Extended Reality

Frontiers in Psychology, 13 Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.851753 - Full text in research archive

The reality-virtuality continuum encompasses a multitude of objects, events and environments ranging from real-world multisensory inputs to interactive multisensory virtual simulators, in which sensory integration can involve very different combinations of both physical and digital inputs. These different ways of stimulating the senses can affect the consumer’s consciousness, potentially altering their judgements and behaviours. In this perspective paper, we explore how technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can, by generating and modifying the human sensorium, act on consumer consciousness. We discuss the potential impact of this altered consciousness for consumer behaviour while, at the same time, considering how it may pave the way for further research.

Escobar, Francisco Jose Barbosa; Velasco, Carlos, Byrne, Derek V. & Wang, Qian J (2022)

Crossmodal associations between visual textures and temperature concepts

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (QJEP) Doi: 10.1177/17470218221096452 - Full text in research archive

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.

Park, Jaewoo; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2022)

‘Looking sharp’: Price typeface influences awareness of spending in mobile payment

Psychology & Marketing Doi: 10.1002/mar.21651 - Full text in research archive

We investigate whether the typeface used to display the purchase amount in the context of mobile payment influences consumers' awareness of spending. The evidence suggests that prices displayed in angular (vs. round) typeface increase the awareness of spending in the context of mobile payment via the perceived harshness of the typeface and the experienced pain of payment (Studies 1–3, 5, and 6). Angular (vs. round) typeface also has downstream consequences for payment behavior, indicating that the amount displayed with the angular typeface increases the hesitation to press the “pay” button (Studies 2 and 6). Our results also demonstrate that the typeface effect on the awareness of spending is moderated by the purchase amount (Study 3). The robust typeface effect documented for Japanese participants (Studies 1–3) is not observed in North Americans (Studies 4 and 5), highlighting the role of culture. Finally, we replicate the price typeface effect (Studies 1–3) in a situation that is closer to the context of real mobile shopping and demonstrate that price typeface impact people's willingness to spend on the next grocery shop (Study 6). Our research contributes to the scarce literature on addressing the profligacy issues associated with mobile payments and broadly cashless payments.

Park, Jaewoo; Motoki, Kosuke, Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2022)

Celebrity insects: Exploring the effect of celebrity endorsement on people’s willingness to eat insect-based foods

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104473 - Full text in research archive

There is a growing interest in insects as a promising alternative source of protein that can potentially contribute to help solving the imminent global food crisis. However, research on insect-based foods (IBFs) has repeatedly pointed to the fact that, in many countries and cultures, negative attitudes towards eating insects are one of the most significant obstacles to promoting the consumption of IBFs. To date, only a small number of studies have investigated effective strategies to increase the acceptance of those foods. The research reported here focused on the role of celebrity endorsement, which is one of the most prevalent marketing strategies used to promote a wide range of products. We systematically explored whether and how such a strategy might affect the consumers’ willingness to eat (WTE) IBFs. Our results provide the first demonstration that celebrities’ perceived trustworthiness, knowledge about IBFs, and appropriateness (as an endorser of IBF products) are significant celebrity characteristics affecting people’s WTE IBFs. We also found that celebrity type (i.e., actor/actress, musician, or athlete) interacts with participant gender in terms of their WTE IBFs. Namely, for male participants, IBF ads featuring actors/actresses or athletes were effective for increasing their WTE those foods. Meanwhile, for female participants, only actors/actresses significantly increased their WTE IBFs. Endorsement by a musician did not increase the WTE IBFs for either male or female respondents. Together, these findings demonstrate the celebrity endorsement as a prominent strategy to increase the WTE IBFs and reveal how and when the strategy is effective for promoting IBFs.

Motoki, Kosuke; Takahashi, Nozomi, Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2022)

Is classical music sweeter than jazz? Crossmodal influences of background music and taste/flavour on healthy and indulgent food preferences

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104380 - Full text in research archive

Store atmospheres are inherently multisensory and constitute an important driver of consumer behaviour. The research suggests that background music (as one element of the multisensory atmosphere) can influence consumer preference and choice. However, the findings have been inconsistent as far as how background music influences people’s preferences for healthy vs. indulgent foods is concerned. By considering different music genres, food types, and tastes/flavours, we aimed to disentangle the mixed results that have been reported previously. Across two experiments (including one pre-registered replication), the participants rated their preferences for each of several options (healthy savoury, indulgent savoury, healthy sweet, indulgent sweet) while listening to one of four music genres (Jazz, Classical, Rock/Metal, and Hip-hop). The results of the two experiments consistently demonstrated that the effects of background music on food preferences were dependent on the interaction between music genre, food type (healthy vs. indulgent), and taste/flavour (sweet vs. savoury). Crucially, listening to Jazz and Classical music increased people’s preferences for healthy savoury foods (e.g., vegetable sandwich) as compared with Rock/Metal music. Listening to Rock/Metal, Hip-hop, and Jazz music increased people’s preferences for indulgent savoury foods (e.g., a beef sandwich) as compared with Classical music. Additionally, listening to Classical music increased people’s preferences for both healthier (e.g., low-fat milk) and indulgent (e.g., milk chocolate) sweet foods as compared with the other musical genres. The mediating role of emotions was also documented in these experiments. Specifically, positive valence mediated the relationship between music genre and sweet as well as healthier savoury foods, while the feeling of arousal mediated the relationship between music genre and indulgent savoury foods. These findings suggest that auditory atmospherics may influence consumers’ food preferences. Practical implications for store managers concerning when to select and use specific types of background music are made.

Motoki, Kosuke; Park, Jaewoo, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2022)

Contextual acceptance of novel and unfamiliar foods: Insects, cultured meat, plant-based meat alternatives, and 3D printed foods

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104368 - Full text in research archive

Engineering healthy diets from sustainable food resources undoubtedly constitutes a major global challenge. One solution to the problem of developing healthy and sustainable diets involves the incorporation of various novel/unfamiliar foods into our diets (e.g., insect-based foods, cultured meats, plant-based meat alternatives, and 3D printed foods). However, the consumer acceptance of novel/unfamiliar foods still poses something of a challenge. Although a growing body of research has started to reveal that situational factors (e.g., social companions, eating venue) can influence food preferences, it remains unclear how exactly they influence the consumer’s acceptance of novel/unfamiliar foods (including unfamiliar ingredients, food produced by novel processes/technologies). Across three studies, we examined the influence of social companions (alone, friend, family, acquaintance, partner) and venue (home, cafe, bar, pub, food festival, restaurant), on the anticipated willingness to try a number of novel/unfamiliar foods (insect-based foods, cultured meats, plant-based meat alternatives, and 3D printed foods). Using the category name and descriptions of novel/unfamiliar foods, our results demonstrate that situational factors influence anticipated acceptance differently depending on the type of novel/unfamiliar foods. Eating with friends and at food festivals plays an important role in the anticipated acceptance of insect-based foods, cultured meats, and 3D printed foods in a similar way. Moreover, expected positive and negative emotions might help to explain why these situational factors increase the anticipated acceptance of these foods. In contrast, the environmental situations that increase the anticipated acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives are similar to those increasing the acceptance of typical (rather than novel) foods. Taken together, these findings reveal the role of situational factors in the anticipated eating of a variety of novel/unfamiliar foods, thus providing practical implications on how/where to introduce such foods or engineer appropriate situations to increase the acceptance of, and exposure to, such novel/unfamiliar foods.

Velasco, Carlos; Wang, Qian Janice, Obrist, Marianna & Nijholt, Anton (2021)

A Reflection on the State of Multisensory Human–Food Interaction Research

Frontiers in Computer Science, 3, s. 1- 7. Doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2021.694691 - Full text in research archive

We present a perspective article on the state of multisensory human–food interaction (MHFI) research and lay out some reflections for research and development in this area of inquiry, based on a revision of the different spaces that we have co-created with researchers in this space. We begin by conceptualizing and defining MHFI, before moving onto presenting some of its major themes, as well as possible ways in which such themes can guide future research in the area. This article provides key definitions and foundations for the area of MHFI, as well as a first point of contact for those interested in it.

Nozawa, Chisato; Togawa, Taku, Velasco, Carlos & Motoki, Kosuke (2021)

Consumer responses to the use of artificial intelligence in luxury and non-luxury restaurants

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104436 - Full text in research archive

There has been an ever-increasing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) in the hospitality sector. However, it is still unclear how consumers respond to products/services in hospitality industries provided by AI. Building on the theoretical framework for using AI in different services and the literature on luxury consumption, across four studies, we investigated how consumers evaluate different types of restaurants that are run by AI vs. humans. The results demonstrated that consumers evaluated food and restaurants more negatively where the service is provided by AI (Study 1). This effect was higher in luxury restaurants compared to casual dining (fast food, casual restaurants) (Studies 2 and 3). Moreover, we identified the underlying mechanism of this effect by showing that in luxury (vs. casual) restaurants, foods cooked by AI negatively influenced evaluations of three dimensions of restaurants’ quality, such as food, service, and ambience quality, decreasing the intention to visit the restaurant (Study 4). Altogether, these findings reveal some effects that AI can have in the hospitality industry and provide practical insights on how to introduce AI in restaurants.

Velasco, Carlos; Barbosa Escobar, Francisco, Petit, Olivia & Wang, Qian Janice (2021)

Impossible (food) experiences in extended reality

Frontiers in Computer Science Doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2021.716846 - Full text in research archive

We introduce a model to think about impossible experiences in mixed and virtual reality, while emphasizing the role of said experiences in the context of food. This reality-impossibility model includes two continua, namely, the reality-fantasy character of objects and environments, and the extent to which they follow the laws of physics-other laws. We present a series of examples in each of the quadrants of the model and discuss both the research possibilities and implications of impossible experiences.

Plata, Alejandro; Motoki, Kosuke, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Trends in alcohol consumption in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-country analysis

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2021.100397 - Full text in research archive

During the first sequence of lockdowns implemented in many countries around the world in early 2020 as a result of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, there was widespread concern amongst many health professionals regarding a predicted rise in alcohol consumption. However, studies have reported diverse findings, with some consumer groups exhibiting an increase and others a decrease in their alcohol purchase and consumption patterns. Although the long-lasting changes in alcohol consumption, if any, are still unknown, the current situation has effectively accelerated a number of pre-existing trends which will likely continue in the future. E-commerce is growing steadily, mainly because of the restrictions within the on-trade channel and concerns around catching COVID-19 amongst consumers, thus lifting traditional barriers to the adoption of digital channels. Premiumization has also grown significantly during the pandemic, especially in the spirits category, due, in part, to the fact that consumers have been increasingly trying to recreate bar and restaurant quality gastronomic experiences in the privacy of their own homes. The trend toward homemade experiences is multi-stakeholder as consumers, retailers, restaurateurs, bar owners, and brands all try to help facilitate at-home consumption experiences. Larger size purchases seem to reflect not only the stockpiling phenomena that occurred during the initial phases of the pandemic but also convenience for consumers (e.g., avoiding queues). Additionally, the growing home mixology movement has been observed to result in consumers buying larger amounts of alcohol in order to facilitate cocktail making experimentation at home. It is important to stress, though, that this review was specially focused on available data from the first three quarters of 2020, as an effort to identify and understand the initial impacts the COVID-19 was creating amongst alcohol consumers. It currently remains uncertain how these trends will evolve, and whether or not they will continue post COVID-19 (whenever that might be). Key similarities and differences across national markets are highlighted.

Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe; Campo, Raffaele, De Luca, Modesto & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Toward Healthier Cookie Habits: Assessing the Role of Packaging Visual Appearance in the Expectations for Dietary Cookies in Digital Environments

Frontiers in Psychology, 12 Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.679443 - Full text in research archive

As we tend to consume more and more via e-commerce platforms, the digital version of a dietary product’s package can be one of the most important touchpoints that the consumer has with such product during the purchasing stage of the consumer’s journey. Hence, a dietary food/drink properly presented via its packaging in e-commerce is key, for example, to nudge consumers toward healthier purchase habits. In this study, we assessed the role of different configurations of visual cues commonly present in a product’s packaging (jar vs. bag, transparent vs. opaque, labeled vs. unlabeled) in the expectations associated with dietary cookies when presented in a digital environment. A between-participants study was conducted where eight different packages with different combinations of the three aforementioned features were digitally evaluated by the participants. The results suggest that the presence (vs. absence) of labeling triggered the highest ratings on most assessed dimensions (product quality, healthiness, lightness, sweetness, crumbliness, price, tastiness, greediness for product, product/packaging liking). Moreover, transparent (vs. opaque) packaging tends to yield higher expectations concerning this product’s quality (i.e., product liking, package liking, greediness), though it has an opposite effect on the expected healthiness for such cookies. Some particular interactions between these three visual cues were also observed and are discussed as part of the obtained results. In summary, our results point to how the visual appearance of packaging can be strategically used in order to potentially nudge consumers toward healthier cookie purchase habits.

Pombo, Maria & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

How aesthetic features convey the concept of brand premiumness

Psychology & Marketing, 38(9), s. 1475- 1497. Doi: 10.1002/mar.21534 - Full text in research archive

When do aesthetic properties convey the concept of premiumness? Is symmetry tied to the perception of premiumness due to symmetry's evolutionary association to quality, an association not present with other aesthetic features like curvature? Usually, symmetry and curvature are preferred features. However, preference itself may not suffice to evoke premiumness. With this in mind, we predicted that symmetry (vs. asymmetry) and high(vs. low) product quality would both increase the perception of premiumness of a product while curvature (curved vs. angular) would only do so when it aligned with product quality. We conducted two preliminary exploratory experiments and four preregistered experiments in which we manipulated product quality, symmetry, and curvature of product packaging and measured preference and premiumness perception. We also conducted four additional experiments using a different product category to assess the generalizability of our results. We found that while both symmetry and curvature affect preference, only symmetry affects premiumness perception. Importantly, our results indicate that the extent to which aesthetic features convey brand premiumness can be product-specific. We suggest a theoretical model on when visual aesthetic properties convey premiumness. Overall, our study informs how subtle aesthetic elements play a role in value perception, something which firms can capitalize on.

Barbosa Escobar, Francisco; Velasco, Carlos, Motoki, Kosuke, Byrne, Derek Victor & Wang, Qian Janice (2021)

The temperature of emotions

PLOS ONE, 16(6) Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252408 - Full text in research archive

Emotions and temperature are closely related through embodied processes, and people seem to associate temperature concepts with emotions. While this relationship is often evidenced by everyday language (e.g., cold and warm feelings), what remains missing to date is a systematic study that holistically analyzes how and why people associate specific temperatures with emotions. The present research aimed to investigate the associations between temperature concepts and emotion adjectives on both explicit and implicit levels. In Experiment 1, we evaluated explicit associations between twelve pairs of emotion adjectives derived from the circumplex model of affect, and five different temperature concepts ranging from 0°C to 40°C, based on responses from 403 native speakers of four different languages (English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese). The results of Experiment 1 revealed that, across languages, the temperatures were associated with different regions of the circumplex model. The 0°C and 10°C were associated with negative-valanced, low-arousal emotions, while 20°C was associated with positive-valanced, low-to-medium-arousal emotions. Moreover, 30°C was associated with positive-valanced, high-arousal emotions; and 40°C was associated with high-arousal and either positive- or negative-valanced emotions. In Experiment 2 (N = 102), we explored whether these temperature-emotion associations were also present at the implicit level, by conducting Implicit Association Tests (IATs) with temperature words (cold and hot) and opposing pairs of emotional adjectives for each dimension of valence (Unhappy/Dissatisfied vs. Happy/Satisfied) and arousal (Passive/Quiet vs. Active/Alert) on native English speakers. The results of Experiment 2 revealed that participants held implicit associations between the word hot and positive-valanced and high-arousal emotions. Additionally, the word cold was associated with negative-valanced and low-arousal emotions. These findings provide evidence for the existence of temperature-emotion associations at both explicit and implicit levels across languages.

Cornelio, Patricia; Velasco, Carlos & Obrist, Marianna (2021)

Multisensory integration as per technological advances: A review

Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15 Doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.652611 - Full text in research archive

Multisensory integration research has allowed us to better understand how humans integrate sensory information to produce a unitary experience of the external world. However, this field is often challenged by the limited ability to deliver and control sensory stimuli, especially when going beyond audio–visual events and outside laboratory settings. In this review, we examine the scope and challenges of new technology in the study of multisensory integration in a world that is increasingly characterized as a fusion of physical and digital/virtual events. We discuss multisensory integration research through the lens of novel multisensory technologies and, thus, bring research in human–computer interaction, experimental psychology, and neuroscience closer together. Today, for instance, displays have become volumetric so that visual content is no longer limited to 2D screens, new haptic devices enable tactile stimulation without physical contact, olfactory interfaces provide users with smells precisely synchronized with events in virtual environments, and novel gustatory interfaces enable taste perception through levitating stimuli. These technological advances offer new ways to control and deliver sensory stimulation for multisensory integration research beyond traditional laboratory settings and open up new experimentations in naturally occurring events in everyday life experiences. Our review then summarizes these multisensory technologies and discusses initial insights to introduce a bridge between the disciplines in order to advance the study of multisensory integration.

Velasco, Carlos & Veflen, Nina (2021)

Aesthetic plating and motivation in context

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science Doi: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2021.100323 - Full text in research archive

Previous research has suggested that people prefer balanced over unbalanced plating compositions. Importantly, though, the question remains as to whether plating balance influences consumers' associations of plating with approach and avoidance motivation. In the present research, we study how plating balance influence people's aesthetic evaluations and approach and avoidance associations. In addition, based on the idea that context can influence aesthetic evaluations, we manipulate whether the different plates are presented in regular dining or high-end restaurant scenarios. Throughout two experiments we extend previous findings suggesting that plating balance influences aesthetic pleasure. We find that balanced plates are considered more aesthetically pleasing than unbalanced plates. Furthermore, we demonstrate that people associate balanced plates more (less) strongly with approach (avoidance) words relative to unbalanced plates. Notably, our analysis failed to reveal an effect of plating context on either aesthetic pleasure or approach and avoidance ratings. This suggests that balance may be a robust feature in aesthetic plating when it comes to its influence on these variables.

Escobar, Francisco Jose Barbosa; Petit, Olivia & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Virtual terroir and the premium coffee experience

Frontiers in Psychology Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.586983 - Full text in research archive

With its origin-centric value proposition, the specialty coffee industry seeks to educate consumers about the value of the origin of coffee and how the relationship with farmers ensures quality and makes coffee a premium product. While the industry has widely used stories and visual cues to communicate this added value, research studying whether and how these efforts influence consumers' experiences is scarce. Through three experiments, we explored the effect of images that evoke the terroir of coffee on the perception of premiumness. Our results revealed that online images that resembled the broad origin of coffee (i.e., a farm) could influence premiumness expectations of coffee (Experiment 1). Similarly, a virtual reality environment that depicted this broad origin (vs. a control but not a city atmosphere) could enhance the perception of coffee premiumness for non-expert consumers (Experiment 2) and the enjoyment of the experience for coffee professionals (Experiment 3). Importantly, we found that congruence between the coffee and the virtual reality (VR) atmospheres mediated how much non-experts enjoyed the experience (Experiment 2). VR atmospheres also influenced expectations of sweetness and acidity for non-experts (Experiment 2). These findings serve as a steppingstone for further exploration of the effects of congruence between visual cues and product/brand attributes on premiumness expectations and perception, and more generally on consumer experience. From a practical standpoint, this study provides insights into key aspects for the development of immersive virtual product experiences.

Almiron, Paula; Escobar, Francisco Jose Barbosa, Pathak, Abhishek, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Searching for the sound of premium beer

Food Quality and Preference, 88 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104088 - Full text in research archive

One common definition of premiumness is as a higher quality and more expensive variant of a product than other members of the category or reference class. Premiumness can effectively be conveyed by means of different sensory cues (e.g., colours, sounds, weight). However, to date, research linking the sound of a product’s pack-aging with premiumness is sparse. In the present study, we demonstrate for the first time that consumers associate different levels of beer premiumness with the sounds of opening and pouring of bottles and cans. We report the results of two online experiments. Experiment 1 explored the effect of two sound properties associated with beer can and bottle opening and pouring (sound pressure and frequency) on the perception of premiumness. Experiment 2 used semantic differential scales (e.g., bad-good, passive-active) to evaluate the meanings people tend to associate with different auditory cues. The analyses revealed that participants perceived: 1) bottle sounds to be more premium overall than can sounds, 2) pouring sounds as more premium than opening sounds, and 3) higher pressure sounds as more premium than lower pressure sounds. Additionally, premiumness was positively correlated with semantic differentials of dead-alive, and the evaluative terms of sad-happy, awful-nice, and bad- good, which highlights the perceived quality and premium character of a beer when conveyed auditorily.

Motoki, Kosuke & Velasco, Carlos (2021)

Taste-shape correspondences in context

Food Quality and Preference, 88 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104082 - Full text in research archive

A significant body of research demonstrates the existence of taste-shape correspondences. People associate tastes and visual shapes non-randomly. For example, round shapes are associated with sweet taste, while angular shapes are associated with sour and bitter tastes. Previous studies have focused on one-to-one taste-shape associations, where either geometrical shapes or shapes on a product’s packaging have been presented in isolation and evaluated separately. However, in real-life product displays, products are typically surrounded by other products. We examined whether shape contexts can influence the taste expectations associated with target products across five experiments (n = 1087) using geometrical and shapes on the packaging varying in curvature. Participants saw a display set (target shape in the middle surrounded by shapes on both sides) and evaluated the target shape in different taste scales. The first two experiments (within-participants design) failed to reveal that shape contexts can influence the taste expectations of the target. However, the subsequent three experiments (between-participants design) consistently demonstrated that shape contexts influence taste expectations associated with the target. In the latter experiments, we manipulated only the surrounding shapes and fixed target shapes as neutral (intermediate between angular and round shapes). When the surrounding shapes were angular (vs. round), the target shapes were rated as sweeter/more umami and less sour/salty/bitter. Emotions (valence and arousal) mediated the relationship between shape contexts and taste expectations. We discuss the results in light of the theory on crossmodal correspondences and relative compatibility effects. The findings provide insights for food marketers when it comes to designing product package displays to convey taste information more effectively.

Evanschitzky, Heiner; Bartikowski, Boris, Baines, Tim, Blut, Markus, Brock, Christian, Kleinlercher, Kristina, Naik, Parikshit, Petit, Olivia, Rudolph, Thomas, Spence, Charles, Velasco, Carlos & Wünderlich, Nancy V. (2020)

Digital disruption in retailing and beyond

Journal of Service Management Research (SMR), 4, s. 187- 204.

The increased disruption of business models through digital technologies creates opportunities and challenges for retail businesses and their network partners. Digital transformation – the process of digitalization of previously analogue operations, procedures, organizational tasks, and managerial processes in order to drive value for customers, employees and other stakeholders – is the order of the day. With that in mind, this article provides a purposeful overview of research in the field of digital transformation with a focus on retailing and customer- facing functions of digital technologies such as managing customer journeys, assessing the impact of sensory marketing and the use of service robots on the one hand, and their strategic implications for business models such as servitization on the other. This article concludes by highlighting immediate as well as long-term challenges in the field, with a focus on disruptive technologies, innovationsand trends that retail marketing-management will likely face in the near future.

Bravo-Moncayo, Luis; Reinoso-Carvalho, Felipe & Velasco, Carlos (2020)

The effects of noise control in coffee tasting experiences

Food Quality and Preference Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104020 - Full text in research archive

The present research investigates the general effect of auditory noise control in individual’s eating and drinking experiences. In particular, the study applied passive vs active commercial headphone noise control techniques to an urban drinking situation. Here, each participant drank twice the same coffee while exposed to a louder (~85 dBA) vs less loud (−20 dBs) version of the same background noise of a food court in busy hours. Note that by loud, louder, and less loud, we are referring to differences in the sound level of the noise. Results suggest that most consumers tend to be less sensitive to specific sensory and hedonic attributes of the coffee under louder noise (sweetness, bitterness, acidity, flavor/aroma intensity, flavor-liking, sound-liking, flavor-sound-matching), and less willing to pay and purchase the coffee, relative to less loud sounds. This was more evident concerning the perceived bitterness and aroma intensity of the coffee. The effects reported are mainly attributed to the differences in noise level during taste, and discussed based on theory on crossmodal correspondences, and attention (e.g., louder noise may diminish the ability to attend to specific elements of the experience). When thinking of public health, for example, these results suggest that differences in urban noise level may moderate behavior during food/drink situations (e.g., potentially modulating sugar intake).

Betancur, Maria Isabel; Motoki, Kosuke, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2020)

Factors influencing the choice of beer: A review

Food Research International, 137 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109367 - Full text in research archive

Research on those variables that have been shown to influence the consumer’s choice of beer is reviewed. The focus is on the choice of whether to drink beer as opposed to a beverage from another category, and to a greater extent, the choice between different types or styles of beer. Inspired by previous research on a diverse array of factors that have been shown to influence food and beverage choice, the review examines how beer choice is driven by consumer variables (covering biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors), product-intrinsic attributes (the sensory aspects of the beer itself), product-extrinsic attributes (external sensory characteristics, such as packaging), and contextual and environmental influences. These situational factors refer to variables such as the location where choice/consumption takes place (i.e., on- versus off-trade), as well as the context, occasion, and reason for drinking. Current trends related to choice and consumption, such as the emerging interest in beer-food pairing, are also examined. The review groups these attributes which affect people’s beer wanting, choice, and purchase in order to understand the beer consumer’s choice process. Along with general conclusions, a number of key directions for future research are also presented, given that the relative contribution of each type of factor on consumer’s choice behaviour is still unclear.

Motoki, Kosuke; Ishikawa, Shin-ichi, Spence, Charles & Velasco, Carlos (2020)

Contextual acceptance of insect-based foods

Food Quality and Preference, 85 Doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.103982 - Full text in research archive

Insect-based foods have gained much attention as an alternative source of protein in recent years because of their high nutritional content and low production costs. However, consumer acceptance of insect-based foods still poses a big challenge in many societies. Across three studies, we examined how social companions (alone, friend, family, acquaintance, partner) and location (cafe, bar, pub, food festival) are associated with people’s willingness to eat insect-based foods. We also examined the positive arousing (fun, excitement) and positive calming (romance, tranquility) emotions that were evoked by several eating contexts. The results of Studies 1 and 2 revealed that participants expected that they would be more willing to eat insect-based foods with friends (vs. alone, family, acquaintance, partner) and in pubs and at food festivals (vs. in a cafe, bar). The results of Study 3 replicated the main findings of the first two studies using the actual names (not pictures) of insect-based food products, namely ‘mealworm burger’ and ‘cricket chocolate bar’. Moreover, these contexts, where people would be more willing to eat insect-based foods, were associated with positive arousing emotions (fun, excitement) rather than positive calming emotions (romance, tranquility). Taken together, then, these findings reveal the role of contexts associated with positive arousing emotions in eating insect-based foods and provide practical advice concerning the situations in which the consumer’s acceptance of insect-based foods may be increased.

Velasco, Carlos; Pathak, Abhishek, Woods, Andy T., Corredor, Andres & Elliot, Andrew J. (2020)

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

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 - Full text in research archive

Pathak, Abhishek; Velasco, Carlos & Spence, Charles (2019)

The sound of branding: An analysis of the initial phonemes of popular brand names

Journal of Brand Management Doi: 10.1057/s41262-019-00183-5 - Full text in research archive

In the marketing literature, the ‘K efect’ refers to the claim that the letter K is overrepresented as the initial letter of brand names. To date, however, most fndings have only considered the frequency of the written letters incorporated into brand names. Here, we argue that since letters sometimes sound diferent when pronounced in diferent words (e.g., ‘C’ in Cartier vs. Cisco), a phonemic analysis of the initial phonemes is likely to be more insightful than merely a comparison of the written form (as reported by previous researchers). With this in mind, the initial phonemes of top brand names were analyzed and compared with: (1) words in the dictionary; (2) a corpus of contemporary American English; and (3) the most popular current children’s names in the USA. We also analyzed a diferent list of top brands, including both corporate brand names (e.g., Procter & Gamble) as well as the product-related brand names (e.g., Pantene). We conclude by reporting the most underrepresented [vowels (/aʊ/, /ɜː/, /ɔɪ/, /ɔː/) and consonants (/r/, /ʒ/, /l/, /θ/)] and overrepresented [vowels (/iː/, /əʊ/) and consonants (/j/, /z/, /f/, /dʒ/, /p/, /j/, /t/)] initial phonemes in the brand names vis-à-vis the current linguistic naming conventions.

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, 1 Doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2019.00003 - Full text in research archive

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, 32(4-5), s. 275- 318. Doi: 10.1163/22134808-20191403 - Full text in research archive

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)

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.

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

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

Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, 2018-October

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 - Full text in research archive

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; Woods, Andy T., Wan, Xiaoang, Salgado-Montejo, Alejandro, Bernal-Torres, Cesar, Cheok, Adrian David & Spence, Charles (2018)

The taste of typefaces in different countries and languages

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 12(2), s. 236- 248. 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

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 (LNCS), 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

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

Velasco, Carlos; Bertran, Ferran Altarriba, Obrist, Marianna, Wang, Yan, Mueller, Florian 'Floyd' & Deng, Jialin (1)

Editorial: The future of human-food interaction

International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science [Kronikk]

Velasco, Carlos; Obrist, Marianna, Huisman, Gijs, Nijholt, Anton, Spence, Charles, Motoki, Kosuke & Narumi, Takuji (1)

Editorial: Perspectives on Multisensory Human-Food Interaction

Frontiers in Computer Science [Kronikk]

Velasco, Carlos; Michel, Charles & Spence, Charles (1)

Gastrophysics: Current approaches and future directions

International Journal of Food Design [Kronikk]

Velasco, Carlos; Sunaga, Tsutomu, Narumi, Takuji, Spence, Charles & Petit, Olivia (1)

Multisensory consumer-computer interaction

Journal of Business Research [Kronikk]

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

Velasco, Carlos (2022)

Multisensory experiences: Where the senses meet technology

[Academic lecture]. Eurosense.

Velasco, Carlos; Nijholt, Anton, Spence, Charles, Narumi, Takuji, Motoki, Kosuke, Huisman, Gijs & Obrist, Marianna (2020)

Multisensory Approaches to Human-Food Interaction

[Academic lecture]. Workshop on Multisensory Approaches to Human-Food Interaction.

Velasco, Carlos & Veflen, Nina (2019)

Evaluating the role of context in consumers’ aesthetic evaluations of, and approach / avoidance associations with, plating symmetry

[Academic lecture]. Pangborn 2019.

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
2019 - Present BI Norwegina Business School Associate professor
2016 - 2019 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