Sooo Sweeet! Presence of long vowels in brand names lead to expectations of sweetness

Abhishek Pathak (Lead / Corresponding author), Gemma A. Calvert

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Abstract

Throughout the history of languages, poets and writers have used linguistic tools to enhance euphony in their creations. One of the widely used tools to convey melody in any written (or spoken) creative art form is the use of long vowels. This paper examines the linkages between long (vs. short) vowel sounds and taste expectations of sweetness. Across four studies, we demonstrate that people expect products with brand names containing long vowels to taste sweeter than those including short vowel sounds. In studies 1 and 2, we demonstrate this association with the use of self-reported measures, and in studies 3 and 4, we employ indirect measures (implicit taste-shape correspondence and Single Category Implicit Association Test (SC-IAT) paradigm) to show the effect holds at a subconscious level of processing. Previous research in this field has typically linked vowel position (high vs. low or front vs. back) with product or brand attribute expectations. This paper contributes to the growing body of literature in this field by demonstrating the importance of vowel length in sound symbolism, and more precisely, how it pertains to the taste continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Cross-modal correspondence
  • Product attributes
  • Sound symbolism
  • Taste
  • Vowels

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