The Bouba and Kiki experiment

The Bouba and Kiki experiment

Bouba and Kiki's experiment was performed by the psychologist Wolfgang Köhler in 1929. This research gave an interesting result through which interesting psychological aspects can be deduced. Let's see what it consists of.

What is the Bouba and Kiki experiment

Bouba and Kiki's experiment starts from an image. In her two figures appear; one of them has rounded profiles and the other has them pointedly. But, How does your interpretation influence the psychological level?

Well, there is something very curious: to most of the people who are asked the question of putting a name to each figure, they usually answer that the figure of rounded forms is Bouba and the picuda, Kiki.

This is a very curious conclusion that, nevertheless, has its explanation. The first thing to understand is that it is not about any kind of visual illusion, but that the reason for this phenomenon is at the origin of the words.

Neuroscientists Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Edward Hubbar, of the University of California, performed a work that was based on another similar previous study. Thus, they recovered this experiment and developed that of Bouba and Kiki.

The conclusions are the following: this coincidence could be related to the connections that exist between sensory areas and motor of the brain. Thus, the very way we put our lips in naming objects would influence it.

Therefore, at the time of saying Kiki we put a high palate, and yet when we say Bouba, we put the mouth more rounded. This further explains the general origin of many words.

Therefore, the conclusion is that the signifier, that is, the form, is more related than we think to the meaning of the words. This would define the language from its beginnings, so it means a very important discovery at linguistic level.

Ramachandran and Hubbard published their research on synesthesia and its relationship with an earlier experiment carried out more than 70 years ago by Köhler, another expert in this type of studies.

This work showed that human beings link vision and hearing in a very similar way. For this he also used two words, in this case he showed two drawings to a series of people. One of them had points and the other had curves. Köhler asked to be named after figures with the term takete or baluba.

At the time this research was conducted, its results had a great impact. In fact, they were very relevant for further studies in the field of psychology, neuroscience and linguistics.

Applications of this study

Thanks to studies in these areas, important conclusions have been established. One of them is that the brain interconnects the information that our senses receive, so that they do not act independently.

The view would not be the only sense that perceives the forms of our surroundings. This has important implications in many other areas, such as the way we perceive food.

In fact, in the field of gastronomy much progress has been made in this regard and they have used the conclusions drawn from them to appreciate and provide more diverse culinary experiences.

For example, a researcher named Merle T. Fairhust recently published the results she had obtained regarding the Bouba and Kiki effect in the field of gastronomy. Thus, the researcher conducted an experiment in collaboration with The Fat Duck restaurant.

This establishment is characterized by the scientific approach of its owner when creating new dishes, all with the intention of surprising and evolve in the world of gastronomy and thus be able to offer new culinary experiences.

Several complex culinary creations presented differently and in different dishes were served in the study. In this way, it was noted how the names were given made food perceived differently.

The results were quite surprising, since people understood that certain foods were sweeter depending on the shape of the dish and the way they were served.

Heston Blumental, the chef who made these preparations, said it is a world to discover. For example, if you write wine with a pointed font and then it is done with a rounded font, the person who drinks the same wine may know differently.

As you can see, the experiment of Bouba and Kiki by psychologist Wolfgang Köhler has important implications for language evolution. It is, therefore, a curious and important novelty about how we perceive the reality that surrounds us and our environment.