I know that “Kiki” is angular: The metacognition underlying sound–shape correspondences

  • Yi-Chuan ChenEmail author
  • Pi-Chun Huang
  • Andy Woods
  • Charles Spence
Brief Report


We examined the ability of people to evaluate their confidence when making perceptual judgments concerning a classic crossmodal correspondence, the Bouba/Kiki effect: People typically match the “Bouba” sound to more rounded patterns and match the “Kiki” sound to more angular patterns instead. For each visual pattern, individual participants were more confident about their own matching judgments when they happened to fall in line with the consensual response regarding whether the pattern was rated as “Bouba” or “Kiki”. Logit regression analyses demonstrated that participants’ confidence ratings and matching judgments were predictable by similar regression functions. This implies that the consensus and confidence underlying the Bouba/Kiki effect are underpinned by a common process, whereby perceptual features in the patterns are extracted and then used to match the sound according to rules of crossmodal correspondences. Combining both matching and confidence measures potentially allows one to explore and quantify the strength of associations in human knowledge.


Bouba/Kiki effect Crossmodal correspondences Consensuality principle Confidence rating Radial frequency patterns 

Supplementary material

13423_2018_1516_MOESM1_ESM.docx (366 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 365 kb)
13423_2018_1516_MOESM2_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Chuan Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pi-Chun Huang
    • 3
  • Andy Woods
    • 2
  • Charles Spence
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineMackay Medical CollegeNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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