"Like popcorn": Crossmodal correspondences between scents, 3D shapes and emotions in children

O Metatla, Emanuela Maggioni, C Cullen, Marianna Obrist
in CHI '19: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference paper (text)


© 2019 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM. There is increasing interest in multisensory experiences in HCL However, little research considers how sensory modalities interact with each other and how this may impact interactive experiences. We investigate how children associate emotions with scents and 3D shapes. 14 participants (10-17yrs) completed crossmodal association tasks to attribute emotional characteristics to variants of the "Bouba/Kiki" stimuli, presented as 3D tangible models, in conjunction with lemon and vanilla scents. Our findings support pre-existing mappings between shapes and scents, and confirm the associations between the combination of angular shapes ("Kiki") and lemon scent with arousing emotion, and of round shapes ("Bouba") and vanilla scent with calming emotion. This extends prior work on crossmodal correspondences in terms of stimuli (3D as opposed to 2D shapes), sample (children), and conveyed content (emotions). We outline how these findings can contribute to designing more inclusive interactive multisensory technologies.