We report a series of three experiments designed to assess the extent to which people can infer the temperature of water on the basis of the sound that can be heard when it is poured from one vessel into another. Experiment 1 demonstrates that people can tell whether water is hot or cold solely on the basis of the sound that it makes when poured into a receptacle made from one of four different materials (glass, porcelain, paper and plastic). Experiment 2 reveals the existence of an implicit association between the pouring sounds and the notion of a particular temperature (hot or cold). Finally, experiment 3 demonstrates that the perception of temperature can be changed by artificially modifying the sonic properties of the sound that hot and cold water makes when poured into a receptacle. Potential applications for these results in terms of sensory marketing and modernist dining are discussed.
The idea that temperature is a multisensory construct could be of particular interest to contexts such as food and drink perception, media (e.g., radio, television and digital environments), electronic drinks dispensers and household appliances, where the apparent temperature of a beverage could potentially be modified in order to create (or modify) particular consumption experiences.