Janice Wang: How sound affects our taste perception

Oxford student Janice Wang creates multisensory experiences across multiple disciplines and ideas.

Currently completing her Ph.D. at Oxford University, Janice Wang is interested in how sound and taste relate to each other. Her work involves multisensory investigations within the realms of art, science and design. In this interview she elaborates on her exploration of music and food, and how one’s taste experience can be influenced by different sounds.

Wang sheds light on what she does with the example of an interactive project she designed around chocolate and music. The experiment aimed to note the impact of music on the participants’ perception of the sweet and bitter elements in chocolate.

Wang concluded that music “doesn’t really change the taste of the food,” but it does “shift your attention to different elements” as was the case with the flavour profile of the chocolate.

To open the conversation about multisensory design to the public, Wang and like-minded designers, scientists and artists have formed a group called The Crossmodalists. The key focus of the group is to create multisensory experiences that fuse their various mediums together in interactive ways.

The group defines “crossmodalism” as a movement "based on learning and collaboration across non-traditionally linked disciplines, ideas, and communities.”

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