Crossmodal Correspondences between Typefaces and Food Preferences Drive Congruent Choices but Not among Young Consumers

  • Tobias Otterbring University of Agder
  • Kristian Rolschau Aarhus University
  • Elise F. Furrebøe University of Agder
  • Ellen K. Nyhus University of Agder
Keywords: crossmodal correspondences, sensory integration, typeface, food preferences, consumer choice, age differences


Several studies suggest that consumers match stimuli across sensory modalities, with angular (vs. round) typefaces typically associated with sourness (vs. sweetness). Drawing on findings from the field of crossmodal correspondences, this study (N = 220) examined potential typeface effects in naturalistic settings and found that exposure to angular (vs. round) typeface increased (decreased) consumers’ preferences for sour (sweet) food but had no impact on their expectations or perceptions of these tastes. Moreover, while typeface did not have a direct effect on food choices, consumers exposed to angular (vs. round) typeface reported a greater relative preference for sour over sweet foods, resulting in sourer (vs. sweeter) food choices. However, the effects of typeface on preferences and food choices were moderated by consumers’ age, and only applied to older (vs. younger) consumers, with different taste preferences among older and younger consumers constituting a possible explanation for such age-contingent findings. Thus, exposure to angular (vs. round) typeface increased older consumers’ choice likelihood of sourer (vs. sweeter) food alternatives, with this effect being mediated by increased preferences for sour relative to sweet foods. Taken together, the current research reveals how, why, and when typefaces may be crossmodally linked to consumers’ preferences, purchase patterns, and choice behavior.

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