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Implicit associations between individual properties of color and sound

Anikin, Andrey LU and Johansson, Niklas LU (2018) In Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics
Abstract
We report a series of 22 experiments in which the implicit associations test (IAT) was used to investigate cross-modal correspondences between visual (luminance, hue [R-G, B-Y], saturation) and acoustic (loudness, pitch, formants [F1, F2], spectral centroid, trill) dimensions. Colors were sampled from the perceptually accurate CIE-Lab space, and the complex, vowel-like sounds were created with a formant synthesizer capable of separately manipulating individual acoustic properties. In line with previous reports, the loudness and pitch of acoustic stimuli were associated with both luminance and saturation of the presented colors. However, pitch was associated specifically with color lightness, whereas loudness mapped onto greater visual... (More)
We report a series of 22 experiments in which the implicit associations test (IAT) was used to investigate cross-modal correspondences between visual (luminance, hue [R-G, B-Y], saturation) and acoustic (loudness, pitch, formants [F1, F2], spectral centroid, trill) dimensions. Colors were sampled from the perceptually accurate CIE-Lab space, and the complex, vowel-like sounds were created with a formant synthesizer capable of separately manipulating individual acoustic properties. In line with previous reports, the loudness and pitch of acoustic stimuli were associated with both luminance and saturation of the presented colors. However, pitch was associated specifically with color lightness, whereas loudness mapped onto greater visual saliency. Manipulating the spectrum of sounds without modifying their pitch showed that an upward shift of spectral energy was associated with the same visual features (higher luminance and saturation) as higher pitch. In contrast, changing formant frequencies of synthetic vowels while minimizing the accompanying shifts in spectral centroid failed to reveal cross-modal correspondences with color. This may indicate that the commonly reported associations between vowels and colors are mediated by differences in the overall balance of low- and high-frequency energy in the spectrum rather than by vowel identity as such. Surprisingly, the hue of colors with the same luminance and saturation was not associated with any of the tested acoustic features, except for a weak preference to match higher pitch with blue (vs. yellow). We discuss these findings in the context of previous research and consider their implications for sound symbolism in world languages. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:85058434130
ISSN
1943-3921
DOI
10.3758/s13414-018-01639-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2c844ddd-2e9a-4e0c-bffa-0ca5d2a19329
date added to LUP
2018-12-14 10:43:16
date last changed
2019-01-13 06:19:13
@article{2c844ddd-2e9a-4e0c-bffa-0ca5d2a19329,
  abstract     = {We report a series of 22 experiments in which the implicit associations test (IAT) was used to investigate cross-modal correspondences between visual (luminance, hue [R-G, B-Y], saturation) and acoustic (loudness, pitch, formants [F1, F2], spectral centroid, trill) dimensions. Colors were sampled from the perceptually accurate CIE-Lab space, and the complex, vowel-like sounds were created with a formant synthesizer capable of separately manipulating individual acoustic properties. In line with previous reports, the loudness and pitch of acoustic stimuli were associated with both luminance and saturation of the presented colors. However, pitch was associated specifically with color lightness, whereas loudness mapped onto greater visual saliency. Manipulating the spectrum of sounds without modifying their pitch showed that an upward shift of spectral energy was associated with the same visual features (higher luminance and saturation) as higher pitch. In contrast, changing formant frequencies of synthetic vowels while minimizing the accompanying shifts in spectral centroid failed to reveal cross-modal correspondences with color. This may indicate that the commonly reported associations between vowels and colors are mediated by differences in the overall balance of low- and high-frequency energy in the spectrum rather than by vowel identity as such. Surprisingly, the hue of colors with the same luminance and saturation was not associated with any of the tested acoustic features, except for a weak preference to match higher pitch with blue (vs. yellow). We discuss these findings in the context of previous research and consider their implications for sound symbolism in world languages.},
  author       = {Anikin, Andrey and Johansson, Niklas},
  issn         = {1943-3921},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics},
  title        = {Implicit associations between individual properties of color and sound},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13414-018-01639-7},
  year         = {2018},
}