Feeling Colours: Crossmodal Correspondences Between Tangible 3D Objects, Colours and Emotions

Anan Lin, Meike Scheller, Feng Feng, Michael Proulx, Oussama Metatla

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

11 Citations (SciVal)
399 Downloads (Pure)


With increasing interest in multisensory experiences in HCI there is a need to consider the potential impact of crossmodal correspondences (CCs) between sensory modalities on perception and interpretation. We investigated CCs between active haptic experiences of tangible 3D objects, visual colour and emotion using the Bouba/Kiki paradigm. We asked 30 participants to assign colours and emotional categories to 3D-printed objects with varying degrees of angularity and complexity. We found tendencies to associate high degrees of complexity and angularity with red colours, low brightness and high arousal levels. Less complex round shapes were associated with blue colours, high brightness and positive valence levels. These fndings contrast previously reported crossmodal efects triggered by 2D shapes of similar angularity and complexity, suggesting that designers cannot simply extrapolate potential perceptual and interpretive experiences elicited by 2D shapes to seemingly similar 3D tangible objects. Instead, we propose a design space for creating tangible multisensory artefacts that can trigger specifc emotional percepts and discuss implications for exploiting CCs in the design of interactive technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationMaking Waves, Combining Strengths
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450380966
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021
Event2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 21


  • 3d printing
  • Bouba
  • Colour
  • Crossmodal correspondences
  • Emotions
  • Kiki
  • Multisensory interaction
  • Touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software


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