ArticleLiterature Review

Shitsukan — the Multisensory Perception of Quality

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Abstract

We often estimate, or perceive, the quality of materials, surfaces, and objects, what the Japanese refer to as ‘shitsukan’, by means of several of our senses. The majority of the literature on shitsukan perception has, though, tended to focus on the unimodal visual evaluation of stimulus properties. In part, this presumably reflects the widespread hegemony of the visual in the modern era and, in part, is a result of the growing interest, not to mention the impressive advances, in digital rendering amongst the computer graphics community. Nevertheless, regardless of such an oculocentric bias in so much of the empirical literature, it is important to note that several other senses often do contribute to the impression of the material quality of surfaces, materials, and objects as experienced in the real world, rather than just in virtual reality. Understanding the multisensory contributions to the perception of material quality, especially when combined with computational and neural data, is likely to have implications for a number of fields of basic research as well as being applicable to emerging domains such as, for example, multisensory augmented retail, not to mention multisensory packaging design.

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A material history of haptics technology that raises new questions about the relationship between touch and media David Parisi offers the first full history of new computing technologies known as haptic interfaces-which use electricity, vibration, and force feedback to stimulate the sense of touch-showing how the efforts of scientists and engineers over the past 300 years have gradually remade and redefined our sense of touch. Through lively analyses of electrical machines, videogames, sex toys, sensory substitution systems, robotics, and human-computer interfaces, Parisi shows how the materiality of touch technologies has been shaped by attempts to transform humans into more efficient processors of information. With haptics becoming ever more central to emerging virtual-reality platforms, wearable computers, and smartphones, Archaeologies of Touch offers a timely and provocative engagement with the long history of touch technology that helps us confront and question the power relations underpinning the project of giving touch its own set of technical media.
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Recent studies have challenged the traditional notion of modality-dedicated cortical systems by showing that audition and touch evoke responses in the same sensory brain regions. While much of this work has focused on somatosensory responses in auditory regions, fewer studies have investigated sound responses and representations in somatosensory regions. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we measured BOLD signal changes in participants performing an auditory frequency discrimination task and characterized activation patterns related to stimulus frequency using both univariate and multivariate analysis approaches. Outside of bilateral temporal lobe regions, we observed robust and frequency-specific responses to auditory stimulation in classically defined somatosensory areas. Moreover, using representational similarity analysis to define the relationships between multi-voxel activation patterns for all sound pairs, we found clear similarity patterns for auditory responses in the parietal lobe that correlated significantly with perceptual similarity judgments. Our results demonstrate that auditory frequency representations can be distributed over brain regions traditionally considered to be dedicated to somatosensation. The broad distribution of auditory and tactile responses over parietal and temporal regions reveals a number of candidate brain areas that could support general temporal frequency processing and mediate the extensive and robust perceptual interactions between audition and touch.
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Multisensory perception is regarded as one of the most prominent examples where human behaviour conforms to the computational principles of maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). In particular, observers are thought to integrate auditory and visual spatial cues weighted in proportion to their relative sensory reliabilities into the most reliable and unbiased percept consistent with MLE. Yet, evidence to date has been inconsistent. The current pre-registered, large-scale (N = 36)replication study investigated the extent to which human behaviour for audiovisual localization is in line with maximum likelihood estimation. The acquired psychophysics data show that while observers were able to reduce their multisensory variance relative to the unisensory variances in accordance with MLE, they weighed the visual signals significantly stronger than predicted by MLE. Simulations show that this dissociation can be explained by a greater sensitivity of standard estimation procedures to detect deviations from MLE predictions for sensory weights than for audiovisual variances. Our results therefore suggest that observers did not integrate audiovisual spatial signals weighted exactly in proportion to their relative reliabilities for localization. These small deviations from the predictions of maximum likelihood estimation may be explained by observers' uncertainty about the world's causal structure as accounted for by Bayesian causal inference.
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We conducted three experiments designed to investigate the influence of drink color shown in virtual reality (VR) on the taste ratings of drinks in the real world. In Experiment 1, participants tasted Chinese red or green tea samples after seeing the VR-based simulation of the actual tea color, but the results did not reveal any significant influence of virtual color on the ratings of the tea taste. In Experiment 2, the virtual tea color was what participants associated with the taste of each type of tea, which did influence their saltiness ratings of the sampled tea. In Experiment 3, participants were shown the virtual tea colors that other people associated with the tea taste, which did not influence their evaluation of the tea taste. Collectively, these results demonstrated that visual cues from the virtual world and gustatory cues from the real world may be integrated to influence the perception of actual drink when the colors were generated based on one's own crossmodal correspondences.
Chapter
Consumers normally come into contact with the tactile attributes of packaging whenever they pick a food and beverage, or home and personal care, product off the shelf. What the consumer feels about the tactile attributes of the packaging (and their haptic interaction with it) can influence both their product expectations and thereafter their product experience. It should come as little surprise, therefore, to find that a growing number of companies/packaging designers are increasingly trying to distinguish their product packaging by giving it a ‘signature’ feel (i.e., one that distinguishes it haptically from the competition). There is also growing interest in functional tactile/haptic packaging that delivers a benefit in terms of enhancing the consumer’s multisensory product experience. That said, it is important to bear in mind that the tactile/haptic aspects of product packaging are typically not experienced in isolation; they are themselves influenced by the other sensory aspects of the packaging, such as its colour, fragrance, and potentially by any sounds that are heard when the consumer interacts with it. Therefore, anyone who is thinking about multisensory design really needs to consider these various crossmodal interactions in order to optimize the tactile/haptic design of their product packaging.
Chapter
While packaging designers have traditionally focused predominantly on stimulating the eyes of the consumer, it is important to note that packaging sounds can also exert a profound influence over our experience and behaviour. In this chapter, we focus on how the sounds that are produced when the consumer interacts with product packaging, both at the point of purchase and at the point of consumption, can affect their hedonic and sensory product evaluations. First, the relative importance of sound, in comparison to the other senses, is discussed in the context of the different stages of user-packaging interactions. Next, we provide examples of the influence of packaging sounds—both at the point of sale and during consumption—with a focus on how marketers can use “signature” brand sounds in order to both communicate functional attributes of the product and to stand out from the competition in the marketplace. At the same time, we review those studies that have examined the influence of packaging sounds on the sensory and hedonic experience of the consumer. We close the chapter by looking at some of the key opportunities associated with combining sound with other sensory cues. We also address the future trends in packaging sounds, including sound’s role in nudging/assisting peoples’ healthy/ecological lifestyle choices. Finally, we briefly touch on the topic of augmented packaging sounds.
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For a long time, human beings have dreamed of a virtual world where it is possible to interact with synthetic entities as if they were real. It has been shown that the ability to touch virtual objects increases the sense of presence in virtual environments. This book provides an authoritative overview of state-of-theart haptic rendering algorithms and their applications. The authors examine various approaches and techniques for designing touch-enabled interfaces for a number of applications, including medical training, model design, and maintainability analysis for virtual prototyping, scientific visualization, and creative processes.
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“Tate Sensorium” was a project by creative partnership Flying Object at Tate Britain in 2015 that explored experimentally the scope for enhancing the experience of visual art by the addition of sounds, taste, touch and smell. As discussed by Tom Pursey, co-creator of “Tate Sensorium”, four major works were chosen from Tate Britain’s collection. Introducing new technologies from the field of virtual reality, “Tate Sensorium” aimed to produce an experience for museum goers that was immersive rather than detached, and that by engaging all the senses (not just vision) was more vivid and more memorable. Lomas’s response contextualizes the intervention within the growth of an experience economy, and through a close focus on Francis Bacon’s Figure in a Landscape (1945), assesses from an art historical point of view the merits and potential pitfalls of this salutary and timely challenge to Modernism’s “pure opticality”.
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Purpose: This article aims to study the cross-modal correspondence between a visual stimulus (i.e., glossiness), haptic perception and consumers’ reactions (internal responses and behavioral intentions). Design/methodology/approach: Using an experimental design, three experimental studies have been conducted to test the effect of a glossy (versus matte) packaging upon the perception of haptic features of a packaging (roughness, thickness and lightness), internal reactions (perceived product quality and product attractiveness) and behavioral intentions (purchase intention and willingness to pay). Findings: This paper evidences the significant impact that glossiness bears on the haptic perception of a packaging material as well as upon internal reactions and behavioral intentions. A new conceptual framework combining the SOR model and the cross-modal correspondences is validated. Research limitations/implications: The results encourage further research to explore the wide range of potential cross-modal correspondences between visual stimuli and haptic perception. Practical implications: The results highlight the critical influence of visual cues for managers, especially for online shopping or advertising. Even if consumers cannot touch the product, it is possible to induce haptic perception through visual cues and to influence the internal reactions and behavioral intentions. Originality/value: This research demonstrates that the packaging texture and weight can be visually induced through glossiness. Keywords: Product packaging, glossiness, perceived haptic features, internal reactions, behavioral intentions
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The arrival of Virtual-Reality, Augmented-Reality, and Mixed-Reality technologies is shaping a new environment where physical and virtual objects are integrated at different levels. Due to the development of portable and embodied devices, together with highly interactive, physical-virtual connections, the customer experience landscape is evolving into new types of hybrid experiences. However, the boundaries between these new realities, technologies and experiences have not yet been clearly established by researchers and practitioners. This paper aims to offer a better understanding of these concepts and integrate technological (embodiment), psychological (presence), and behavioral (interactivity) perspectives to propose a new taxonomy of technologies, namely the “EPI Cube”. The cube allows academics and managers to classify all technologies, current and potential, which might support or empower customer experiences, but can also produce new experiences along the customer journey. The paper concludes with theoretical and managerial implications, as well as a future research agenda.
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Sensory marketing is increasingly gaining importance as a promising approach to effectively appeal to consumers. To predict and monitor the success of sensory marketing activities, it is necessary to assess consumers’ perception of sensory cues. For this purpose, the authors present an exploratory effort to develop a holistic scale to measure consumers’ sensory perception along the five dimensions of visual, acoustic, haptic, olfactory, and gustatory perception—the sensory perception item set (SPI). The SPI consists of 20 adjectives (four per sense) and is the first measurement tool that includes, and thus enables a consistent measurement with regard to, all five senses. In addition, the SPI is simple to employ and is applicable to diverse products and industries. Based on three studies, the authors provide evidence of the reliability and validity of the SPI. Further, the results show that the SPI is significantly correlated with three essential marketing‐related outcome variables (attitude, word‐of‐mouth recommendation, and buying intention). Consequently, this paper presents an approach that marketing managers may employ to better understand the consumer and, hence, to receive valuable information for product design or brand communication.
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Although touchscreens are quickly becoming the primary means of accessing content online, research into influences of touch interfaces on online consumer perceptions and behaviors is at present limited. This study investigated whether varying the degree of interface touch (i.e., ‘direct’ touchscreen vs. ‘indirect’ mouse) elicits differences in perceived psychological ownership and endowment of chosen products – taking into account potential moderating roles of object interactivity (i.e., static 2D vs. rotating 360° 3D product images) and autotelic “Need For Touch” [NFT], as well as additional effects on online shopping enjoyment. Findings from an online grocery shopping experiment confirm a meaningful interaction between touchscreen interfaces and high interactivity images in increasing ownership feelings and subsequent product valuations across food product types. Results showed no evidence for a main effect of interface touch nor moderating role of autotelic NFT on perceived psychological ownership. However, both interface touch and object interactivity predicted online shopping enjoyment independent of product category, with individuals – especially those high in autotelic NFT – experiencing greater enjoyment within the touchscreen and high interactivity conditions respectively.
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Emotion elicited through music transfers to subsequent processing of facial expressions. Music may accordingly function as a social technology by promoting social bonding. Here, we investigated whether music would cross-modally influence the perception of sensual touch, a behavior related to mating. A robot applied precisely controlled gentle touch to a group of healthy participants while they listened to music that varied with respect to its perceived sexiness. As the perceived sexiness of the music increased, so did the subjective sexiness of the touch stimulations. In short, the perception of sexiness transferred from music to touch. Because sensual touch is key to mating behavior and relates to procreation, this association has implications for the universality and evolutionary significance of music.
Article
Manufacturing conditions and physical measurements corresponding to subjective characteristics “fuai” or “koshi” of textiles, are examined. Procedure: Analysis of variance, principal component analysis, and multidimensional scaling were applied to the relation between ratings on “fuai” or “koshi” and eight manufacturing conditions, fourteen physical measurements, and twelve subjective evaluations. Twenty-seven samples were used. Ss were 20 experts, 60 ordinary adults, and 100 female students. Results: (1) Materials, threads/inch, yarn count, color, and pattern of weaving significantly contribute to “fuai”. (2) Principal component analysis yield four major factors, namely, “koshi”, crease resistance, evaluation, and resilience. (3)“Koshi” can be substituted by flexural rigidity, or stiffness. “Fuai” cannot be substituted by any of the physical measurements or subjective evaluations.
Article
Because chewing sounds influence perceived food textures, unpleasant textures of texture-modified diets might be improved by chewing sound modulation. Additionally, since inhomogeneous food properties increase perceived sensory intensity, the effects of chewing sound modulation might depend on inhomogeneity. This study examined the influences of texture inhomogeneity on the effects of chewing sound modulation. Three kinds of nursing care foods in two food process types (minced-/puréed-like foods for inhomogeneous/homogeneous texture respectively) were used as sample foods. A pseudo-chewing sound presentation system, using electromyogram signals, was used to modulate chewing sounds. Thirty healthy elderly participants participated in the experiment. In two conditions with and without the pseudo-chewing sound, participants rated the taste, texture, and evoked feelings in response to sample foods. The results showed that inhomogeneity strongly influenced the perception of food texture. Regarding the effects of the pseudo-chewing sound, taste was less influenced, the perceived food texture tended to change in the minced-like foods, and evoked feelings changed in both food process types. Though there were some food-dependent differences in the effects of the pseudo-chewing sound, the presentation of the pseudo-chewing sounds was more effective in foods with an inhomogeneous texture. In addition, it was shown that the pseudo-chewing sound might have positively influenced feelings.
Article
Touch screens are a key component of consumer mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as an increasingly common self-service component of information retrieval on fixed screens and mobile devices in-store. The ubiquity of touch screens in daily life increases consumer accessibility and extended use for shopping, whilst software innovations have increased the functionality of touch screens, for example the extent to which images respond to fingertip control. This study examines how users engage with interactive visual rotation and tactile simulation features while browsing fashion clothing products on touch screen devices and thus contributes to retail touch screen research that previously focused on in-store kiosks and window displays. Findings show that three dimensions of user engagement (endurability, novelty and felt involvement) are positively influenced by both forms of manipulation. In order to examine the extent to which touch screen user engagement varies with individual preferences for an in-store experience, the paper also examines whether user engagement outcomes are mediated by an individual's need for physical touch. Findings show that the need for touch does not explain the variance between individuals. We conclude that touch screen technology complements the physical retail environment.
Article
Everyday language reveals how stimuli encoded in one sensory feature domain can possess qualities normally associated with a different domain (e.g., higher pitch sounds are bright, light in weight, sharp, and thin). Such cross-sensory associations appear to reflect crosstalk among aligned (corresponding) feature dimensions, including brightness, heaviness, and sharpness. Evidence for heaviness being one such dimension is very limited, with heaviness appearing primarily as a verbal associate of other feature contrasts (e.g., darker objects and lower pitch sounds are heavier than their opposites). Given the presumed bidirectionality of the crosstalk between corresponding dimensions, heaviness should itself induce the cross-sensory associations observed elsewhere, including with brightness and pitch. Taking care to dissociate effects arising from the size and mass of an object, this is confirmed. When hidden objects varying independently in size and mass are lifted, objects that feel heavier are judged to be darker and to make lower pitch sounds than objects feeling less heavy. These judgements track the changes in perceived heaviness induced by the size-weight illusion. The potential involvement of language, natural scene statistics, and Bayesian processes in correspondences, and the effects they induce, is considered.