How our senses make up our experiences

When eating a meal or having a drink, it can be easy to decide whether you like it or not by its taste, look and “feel”. But did you know that the background sound also impacts how you judge a food or drink experience?

There are several studies showing how sound affects our emotions, behaviors, and even taste perceptions. For instance one study showed coffee perception was modified by the musical stimuli. Music that had high sweetness – perceptually, an impression of “sweetness” in the sound – made coffee feel less bitter. The emotions evoked by the music were, with other words, transferred to the tasting. 1

The phenomenon, how music or soundscapes can accentuate a certain taste, has a name: “Sonic seasoning”. I.e music and sound doesn’t only impact how much or fast you eat but also how sweet, salt or maybe bitter you find the food to be.2

There is an immense opportunity for innovative multi-sensory experience design where sound stimuli affects our senses and thus our decisions and behaviors. However, creating multi-sensory experiences doesn’t have to be about activating multiple senses with the purpose of selling more, but rather about giving customers the opportunity to explore and merge their senses in new and exciting ways. As consumers become more aware of and critical to the constant "bombardment" online, they value more genuine ways to immerse themselves in a brand experience.3

In this quest, multi-sensory experience design will play a meaningful role in creating experiences that people find engaging, unique and purposeful to take part in. Also, did you know that the most memorable experiences we have are multi-sensorial?


1 Galmarini, M.V., Silva Paz, R.J., Choquehuanca, D. Encico., Zamora, M.C., & Mesz, B. (2021). Impact of music on the dynamic perception of coffee and evoked emotions evaluated by temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) and emotions (TDE). Food Research International, 150.