Charles Spence

Charles Spence
University of Oxford | OX · Department of Experimental Psychology

About

1,265
Publications
604,889
Reads
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57,313
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Position
  • Collaborator on multiple projects at CenSes
October 1997 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • Professor of Experimental Psychology
June 1992 - September 1997
University of Cambridge
Position
  • PhD & Junior Research Fellow

Publications

Publications (1,265)
Article
Full-text available
A rapidly growing body of empirical research has recently started to emerge highlighting the connotative and/or semiotic meanings that consumers typically associate with specific abstract visual design features, such as colours (either when presented individually or in combination), simple shapes/curvilinearity, and the orientation and relative pos...
Article
Phonetic elements of brand names can convey a range of specific meanings. However, an integrated understanding of the sound symbolism of brand names remains elusive. Here, we classify sound symbolism in brand names based on three key dimensions of the semantic differential (evaluation, potency, and activity). In particular, we demonstrated that the...
Article
Purpose Atmospherics is undoubtedly a multi-sensory concept, despite mostly being studied on a sense-by-sense basis by architects, sensory marketers and urban designers alike. That is, our experience is nearly always the result of cross-modal/multi-sensory interactions between what we see, hear, smell and feel in a given space. As such, it is criti...
Article
Dietary supplements are prevalent and represent a huge (and still growing) global market. Such products are intended to enhance health and wellness as well as to supplement diets. Compared to the large amount of dietary supplements research on nutrition, dietetics, and medicine, far less research has been conducted in the realm of sensory and consu...
Article
Full-text available
Research on food psychology demonstrates that epicurean eating tendencies (i.e., esthetic appreciation of the sensory and symbolic value of food), similar to health concerns, tend to be associated with more regulated eating behaviors. Given that wine is already a product that is more pleasure-oriented, the question to be addressed here is whether s...
Article
Manual motor responses to newly self-associated as compared with other-associated stimuli in a matching task are typically enhanced. However, little is known about the representations of self and other underlying these responses. An emerging theoretical view is that self-bias in these responses is not influenced by consciously accessible constructs...
Article
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The “phantasmagoria” is a term that originally referred to the ghost lantern shows first staged in France at the end of the 18th Century by the Belgian inventor and entertainer Étienne-Gaspard Robertson. The question to be addressed in this review concerns the link between the phantasmagoria (defined as a ghostly visual entertainment) and the multi...
Article
In recent years, a growing number of academic researchers, as well as many marketing and design practitioners, have uncovered a variety of factors that would appear to enhance the visual attractiveness, or deliciousness, of food images to the typical consumer. This review, which contains both narrative and systematic elements, critically evaluates...
Article
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Auditory cues, such as real-world sounds or music, influence how we perceive food. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of negatively and positively valenced mixtures of musical and non-musical sounds on the affective states of participants and their perception of chocolate ice cream. Consuming ice cream while listenin...
Article
We report two experiments designed to investigate whether the presentation of a range of pleasant fragrances, containing both floral and fruity notes, would modulate people’s judgements of the facial attractiveness (Experiment 1) and age (Experiment 2) of a selection of typical female faces varying in age in the range 20–69 years. In Experiment 1,...
Article
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Visually recognising one’s own body is important both for controlling movement and for one’s sense of self. Twenty previous studies asked healthy adults to make rapid recognition judgements about photographs of their own and other peoples’ hands. Some of these judgements involved explicit self-recognition: “Is this your hand or another person’s?” w...
Article
Contemporary food scientists may find inspiration, just as, over the centuries, various writers and painters have, in the delicious, multisensory complexity of a ripe peach.
Article
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A shape-label matching task is commonly used to examine the self-advantage in motor reaction-time responses (the Self-Prioritization Effect; SPE). In the present study, auditory labels were introduced, and, for the first time, responses to unisensory auditory, unisensory visual, and multisensory object-label stimuli were compared across block-type...
Article
Full-text available
Voice quality, or type of phonation (e.g., a whispery voice) can prime specific sensory associations amongst consumers. In the realm of sensory and consumer science, a wide range of taste-sound correspondences have been documented. A growing body of research on crossmodal correspondences has revealed that people reliably associate sounds with basic...
Article
Full-text available
There has long been interest in the nature of the relationship(s) between hue and pitch or, in other words, between colour and musical/pure tones, stretching back at least as far as Newton, Goethe, Helmholtz, and beyond. In this narrative historical review, we take a closer look at the motivations that have lain behind the various assertions that h...
Article
Our perception of moving stimuli is prone to systematic biases. Different biases, for example concerning the perceived speed, or spatial location, of a dynamic, moving stimulus, have consistently been reported in the literature. Different lines of experimental research, together with different theoretical explanations, have emerged analyzing and di...
Article
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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...
Article
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 expe...
Chapter
In the latter half of the 19th Century, the chemist and perfumer Septimus Piesse drew attention to the close association (or similarity) that he felt existed between fragrance and music/sound. But what, one might be tempted to ask, is the value of knowing about such audio-olfactory associations (or crossmodal correspondences)? Here, we highlight a...
Article
Full-text available
There is undoubtedly a spatial component to our experience of gustatory stimulus qualities such as sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami, however its importance is currently unknown. Taste thresholds have been shown to differ at different locations within the oral cavity where gustatory receptors are found. However, the relationship between the sti...
Article
We report a study conducted at Underhill School in North London designed to assess the immediate impact of a culinary class with a chef on the students' willingness to choose and to eat unfamiliar vegetable-based food and beverage options. A total of 98 school children were randomly assigned to take part in either a 40-minute sensory exploration an...
Article
Full-text available
The notion of harmony was first developed in the context of metaphysics before being applied to the domain of music. However, in recent centuries, the term has often been used to describe especially pleasing combinations of colors by those working in the visual arts too. Similarly, the harmonization of flavors is nowadays often invoked as one of th...
Article
Just as for any other sensory system, researchers have long wanted to discriminate between the sensory discriminative and hedonic aspects of tactile perception. Supporting such a distinction, researchers have, in recent decades, uncovered the existence of a dedicated system of receptors in the hairy skin (C-Tactile, CT, afferents) that appear to be...
Article
Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of treatment for cancer and its toxicity directly affects the eating behavior of many patients, usually by adversely affecting their sense of smell and/or taste. These sensory alterations often lead to serious nutritional deficiencies that can jeopardize the patient's recovery, and even continue to affect their li...
Book
Full-text available
Eating and drinking are undoubtedly amongst life’s most multisensory experiences. Take, for instance, the enjoyment of flavor, which is one of the most important elements of such experiences, resulting from the integration of gustatory, (retronasal) olfactory, and possibly also trigeminal/oral-somatosensory cues. Nevertheless, researchers have sugg...
Article
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Purpose-This study aims to examine whether, and how, perceived product scarcity strengthens the attitude-behavior relation in the case of sustainable luxury products. Design/methodology/approach-Three online studies were conducted to examine the moderating role of perceived product scarcity on the attitude-willingness to pay (WTP) relationship in t...
Chapter
Odour-sound correspondences provide some of the most fascinating and intriguing examples of crossmodal associations, in part, because it is unclear from where exactly they originate. Although frequently used as similes, or figures of speech, in both literature and poetry, such smell-sound correspondences have recently started to attract the attenti...
Article
The colour and other visual appearance properties of food and drink constitute a key factor determining consumer acceptance and choice behaviour. Not only do consumers associate specific colours with particular tastes and flavours, but adding or changing the colour of food and drink can also dramatically affect taste/flavour perception. Surprisingl...
Article
Full-text available
Eating and drinking are undoubtedly amongst life’s most multisensory experiences. Take, for instance, the enjoyment of flavor, which is one of the most important elements of such experiences, resulting from the integration of gustatory, (retronasal) olfactory, and possibly also trigeminal/oral-somatosensory cues (Prescott, 2015). Nevertheless, rese...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, there has been an explosion of research into the crossmodal influence of olfactory cues on multisensory person perception. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have documented that a variety of olfactory stimuli, from ambient malodours through to fine fragrances, and even a range of chemosensory body odours can influence everything fro...
Article
A number of personality characteristics have been linked to various aspects of taste (gustation), trigeminal, and olfactory perception. In particular, personality traits have been linked to olfactory sensory thresholds and olfactory identification abilities, as well as to the sensory-discriminative aspects of taste/flavour perception. To date, much...
Article
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 sig...
Article
In recent years, a number of modernist chefs have started to pay more attention to the potential role of food or drink-extrinsic scents in enhancing their guest’s multisensory gastronomic experiences. This narrative review highlights the wide range of uses for such ambient, and/or food-extrinsic, aromas. Oftentimes, in a gastronomic setting, ambien...
Article
Many of the mundane foods that we eat on an everyday basis are consumed in a manner that may be considered stereotypical, conventional, habitual or, on occasion, even a playful ritual. There are a number of reasons for such behaviours, and the potential benefits for the consumer are discussed in the case of vertically asymmetrical foods where the u...
Article
Full-text available
The term "sonic seasoning" refers to the deliberate pairing of sound/music with taste/flavour in order to enhance, or modify, the multisensory tasting experience. Although the recognition that people experience a multitude of crossmodal correspondences between stimuli in the auditory and chemical senses originally emerged from the psychophysics lab...
Article
Full-text available
Object sounds can enhance the attentional selection and perceptual processing of semantically-related visual stimuli. However, it is currently unknown whether crossmodal semantic congruence also affects the post-perceptual stages of information processing, such as short-term memory (STM), and whether this effect is modulated by the object consisten...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Reducing the use of calorific sweeteners in sugar-sweetened beverage while, at the same time, maintaining the perceived sweetness is an important issue for the food industry given the growing global obesity crisis, and the need for many consumers around the world to reduce their sugar intake. A number of fruit aromas/volatiles appear to offer a pro...
Article
Full-text available
Many metallic visual stimuli, especially the so-called precious metals, have long had a rich symbolic meaning for humans. Intriguingly, however, while metallic is used to describe sensations associated with pretty much every sensory modality, the descriptor is normally positively valenced in the case of vision while typically being negatively valen...
Article
Full-text available
The matching of scents with music is both one of the most natural (or intuitive) of crossmodal correspondences and, at the same time, one of the least frequently explored combinations of senses in an entertainment and multisensory experiential design context. This narrative review highlights the various occasions over the last century or two when s...
Article
Traditionally, in the West, the decision about which flavours to pair in a tasting experience has been as much the personal choice of the chef or, more likely, the sommelier, as anything else. However, the last couple of decades have seen a rapid growth of research interest in the pairing of flavours. Nowadays, one can find examples of people pairi...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Mounting evidence demonstrates that people make surprisingly consistent associations between auditory attributes and a number of the commonly-agreed basic tastes. However, the sonic representation of (association with) saltiness has remained rather elusive. In the present study, a crowd-sourced online study ( participants) was conducted to determin...
Article
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...
Article
Full-text available
This narrative review examines the complex relationship that exists between the presence of specific configurations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in food and drink products and multisensory flavour perception. Advances in gas chromatography technology and mass spectrometry data analysis mean that it is easier than ever before to identify the...
Article
The Náttúra dining concept developed by Kitchen Theory ran from September to December 2014 in London. It was inspired by the New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto which has influenced not only cuisine in the Nordic countries but international gastronomy more broadly for a number of years now. This multisensory dining concept incorporated dishes that have su...
Article
Full-text available
There is undoubtedly growing interest in the role of scent in the design of multisensory experiences. However, to date, the majority of the research has focused on its use in the (static) built environment. As highlighted by this narrative review, somewhat different challenges and opportunities arise just as soon as one starts to consider olfaction...
Article
Full-text available
In many parts of the world, restaurants have been forced to close in unprecedented numbers during the various Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns that have paralyzed the hospitality industry globally. This highly-challenging operating environment has led to a rapid expansion in the number of high-end restaurants offering take-away food, or home-delivery me...
Article
Full-text available
There has long been interest in both the tonic and phasic release of scent across a wide range of entertainment settings. While the presentation of semantically congruent scent has often been used in order to enhance people’s immersion in a particular context, other generally less successful attempts have involved the pulsed presentation of a range...
Article
Editorial of special issue "multisensory consumer-computer interaction" in the Journal of Business Research.
Article
Full-text available
Coffee is one of the world’s most frequently consumed beverages, and coffee culture is an increasingly popular phenomenon across the world. Atmospheric elements are especially important for the design of coffee shops. However, it is still unclear how the visual atmospherics (e.g., colour scheme, lightness) of coffee shop interiors influence the con...
Article
Full-text available
Given the worldwide growth of the over-the-counter (OTC) drug market and the increase in the direct-to-consumer advertising of medicines, pharmaceutical branding has become an increasingly important component affecting the consumer’s beliefs about, and hence their responses towards, OTC medicines. The brand name is one of the most important externa...
Article
It would seem fair to say that most people in the West remain more than a little apprehensive about eating insects (entomophagy), and the idea of incorporating insect matter into their diet. Rather that telling people that they should eat insects and/or that it is good for the planet, the approach trialled as part of the México dining concept deliv...
Presentation
We report two studies designed to investigate the semantic differential associations that people hold with instrumental timbre. The first study examined semantic associations with instrumental timbre amongst participants from the UK, Japan, and Africa. A second study investigated the effects of matching the semantic differential congruency of audit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is an increasing interest in food within the HCI discipline, with many interactive prototypes emerging that augment, extend and challenge the various ways people engage with food, ranging from growing plants, cooking ingredients, serving dishes and eating together. Grounding theory is also emerging that in particular draws from embodied inter...
Article
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The ability to resist distracting stimuli whilst voluntarily focusing on a task is fundamental to our everyday cognitive functioning. Here, we investigated how this ability develops, and thereafter declines, across the lifespan using a single task/experiment. Young children (5–7 years), older children (10–11 years), young adults (20–27 years), and...
Article
Full-text available
For centuries, if not millennia, people have associated the basic tastes (e.g., sweet, bitter, salty, and sour) with specific colours. While the range of tastes may have changed, and the reasons for wanting to connect the senses in this rather surprising way have undoubtedly differed, there would nevertheless appear to be a surprisingly high degree...
Article
Full-text available
Those stimuli that have a shiny/glossy visual appearance are typically rated as both attractive and attention capturing. Indeed, for millennia, shiny precious metals and glossy lacquerware have been used to enhance the presentation, and thus the perception, of food and drink. As such, one might have expected that adding a shiny/glossy appearance/fi...
Article
Full-text available
The coffee drinking experience undoubtedly depends greatly on the quality of the coffee bean and the method of preparation. However, beyond the product-intrinsic qualities of the beverage itself, there are also a host of other product-extrinsic factors that have been shown to influence the coffee-drinking experience. This review summarizes the infl...
Article
The presence of a metallic surface or appearance of product packaging and servingware can impact both the sensory and hedonic perception of various different foods and beverages, including promoting the impression of quality, premiumness, and luxury. A total of 51 coffee experts and 132 consumers took part in the study. Metallic-coated ceramic cups...
Article
Full-text available
The perception of dynamic objects is sometimes biased. For example, localizing a moving object after it has disappeared results in a perceptual shift in the direction of motion, a bias known as representational momentum . We investigated whether the temporal characteristics of an irrelevant, spatially uninformative vibrotactile stimulus bias the pe...
Presentation
63rd TeaP Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Ulm, Germany https://cops.ifp.uni-ulm.de/teap2021/downloads/TeaP2021_AbstractBooklet.pdf In this presentation, we review the evidence concerning the representation of the self in each of the senses, as well as in a multisensory / cross-modal context. We consider how the self-prioritization...
Article
Full-text available
Linking arbitrary shapes (e.g., circles, squares, and triangles) to personal labels (e.g., self, friend, or stranger) or reward values (e.g., £18, £6, or £2) results in immediate processing benefits for those stimuli that happen to be associated with the self or high rewards in perceptual matching tasks. Here we further explored how social and rewa...
Article
Full-text available
A wealth of recent research supports the validity of the Self-Prioritization Effect (SPE)—the performance advantage for responses to self-associated as compared with other-person-associated stimuli in a shape–label matching task. However, inconsistent findings have been reported regarding the particular stage(s) of information processing that are i...
Article
Full-text available
This study was designed to investigate the complex interplay between multisensory processing, top–down processes related to the task relevance of sensory signals, and sensory switching. Thirty-five adults completed either a speeded detection or a discrimination task using the same auditory and visual stimuli and experimental setup. The stimuli cons...
Article
Full-text available
Is blue food desirable or disgusting? The answer, it would seem, is both, but it really depends on the food in which the color happens to be present. It turns out that the oft-cited aversive response to blue meat may not even have been scientifically validated, despite the fact that blue food coloring is often added to discombobulate diners. In the...
Article
When questioned, people typically report that different foods are appropriate at different times of the year. That is, patterns of food consumption exhibit seasonal variations. Changes in food odour hedonics and familiarity ratings have also been reported over the course of the year, especially in those countries with marked seasonal changes in cli...
Chapter
There has been a recent surge of interest in the multisensory aspects of advertising from both scholars and practitioners. In part, this development is attributable to the growing realization that our senses do not operate independently, but constantly interact with, and influence, one another. This surge, however, is also partially attributable to...
Preprint
Linking arbitrary shapes (e.g., circles, squares, and triangles) to personal labels (e.g., self, friend, or stranger) or reward values (e.g., £18, £6, or £2) results in immediate processing benefits for those stimuli that happen to be associated with the self or high rewards in perceptual matching tasks. Here we further explored how social and rewa...
Article
When questioned, people typically report that different foods are appropriate at different times of day. What is more, patterns of food consumption tend to exhibit marked diurnal/circadian variations in many parts of the world too. The question addressed in this review is what factors help to explain these temporal differences in food consumption....
Article
People’s expectations concerning the functional properties and efficacy of pharmaceuticals are influenced by a wide variety of product-extrinsic factors, such as the colour (of both product and pack), form (e.g., tablet vs. capsule), and shape (e.g., round, oval, or diamond-shaped) of medicines, and the multisensory design of the product packaging....
Article
The Bouba/Kiki effect constitutes a classic sound-shape correspondence, with the meaningless sounds "Bouba" and "Kiki" being mapped onto smooth and spiky patterns, respectively. While it is commonly believed that the Bouba/Kiki effect is driven by the local rounded and angular features of a pattern, here we investigated the importance of an alterna...
Article
Full-text available
The growing aging population are increasingly suffering from the negative health consequences of the age-related decline in their senses, especially their chemical senses. Unfortunately, however, unlike for the higher senses of vision and hearing, there is currently nothing that can be done to bring back the chemical senses once they are lost (or h...
Book
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Sensehacking highlights the crucial role that our senses play in our everyday lives. The reader is taken through the home, the garden, the office, the bedroom etc and numerous sense-hacks are highlighted that will help any one of us to improve our social, cognitive, and emotional well-being by avoiding the dangers of sensory overload and sensory in...
Article
Full-text available
The layout of visual elements in advertising influences consumers' perception and judgments. The research reported here investigates the influence of the face orientation of a human model on the perception of their attractiveness and its downstream consequences on product evaluation. Across five experiments, we first demonstrate that consumers tend...
Article
Full-text available
Ambient smell has long been a feature of live performance, no matter whether its presence was intentional or not. While, once upon a time, the incidental presence of malodour was an inevitable feature of proceedings, the deliberate use of scent can actually be traced all the way back to the earliest rituals. This review attempts to trace the long h...