With its origin-centric value proposition, the specialty coffee industry seeks to educate consumers about the value of the origin of coffee and how the relationship with farmers ensures quality and makes coffee a premium product. While the industry has widely used stories and visual cues to communicate this added value, research studying whether and how these efforts influence consumers' experiences is scarce. Through three experiments, we explored the effect of images that evoke the terroir of coffee on the perception of (...) premiumness. Our results revealed that online images that resembled the broad origin of coffee could influence premiumness expectations of coffee. Similarly, a virtual reality environment that depicted this broad origin could enhance the perception of coffee premiumness for non-expert consumers and the enjoyment of the experience for coffee professionals. Importantly, we found that congruence between the coffee and the virtual reality atmospheres mediated how much non-experts enjoyed the experience. VR atmospheres also influenced expectations of sweetness and acidity for non-experts. These findings serve as a steppingstone for further exploration of the effects of congruence between visual cues and product/brand attributes on premiumness expectations and perception, and more generally on consumer experience. From a practical standpoint, this study provides insights into key aspects for the development of immersive virtual product experiences. (shrink)
Previous research has demonstrated that ratings of the perceived pleasantness and quality of odors can be modulated by auditory stimuli presented at around the same time. Here, we extend these results by assessing whether the hedonic congruence between odor and sound stimuli can modulate the perception of odor intensity, pleasantness, and quality in untrained participants. Unexpectedly, our results reveal that broadband white noise, which was rated as unpleasant in a follow-up experiment, actually had a more pronounced effect on participants’ odor (...) ratings than either the consonant or dissonant musical selections. In particular, participants rated the six smells used as being less pleasant and less sweet when they happened to be listening to white noise, as compared to any one of the other music conditions. What is more, these results also add evidence to the existence a close relationship between an odor’s hedonic character and the perception of odor quality. So, for example, independent of the sound condition, pleasant odors were rated as sweeter, less dry, and brighter than the unpleasant odors. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the understanding of crossmodal correspondences between olfactory and auditory stimuli. (shrink)
The reality-virtuality continuum encompasses a multitude of objects, events and environments ranging from real-world multisensory inputs to interactive multisensory virtual simulators, in which sensory integration can involve very different combinations of both physical and digital inputs. These different ways of stimulating the senses can affect the consumer’s consciousness, potentially altering their judgements and behaviours. In this perspective paper, we explore how technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can, by generating and modifying the human sensorium, act on consumer consciousness. (...) We discuss the potential impact of this altered consciousness for consumer behaviour while, at the same time, considering how it may pave the way for further research. (shrink)
Multisensory Experiences: Where the senses meet technology takes you on a journey that goes from the fundamentals of multisensory experiences, through the relationship between the senses and technology, to what the future of those experiences may look like, and our responsibility in it.