Sensory semiotics

Date of publication: March 16, 2003


Our senses interact with each other and borrow from each other's expertise in satisfying needs, or emotional language, meanings, vocabulary. Each sense has its own dynamics and uses a 'language' and a system of signs, which to a certain extent has a universal quality but also takes on culture-specific meanings. Senses are evocative of feelings, emotions and sensations that are often impalpable and indeed very subjective. Language cannot be the only tool to explore complex realities or to decode and describe cultural subtleties in sensory perception. This paper highlights the benefits of simple, user-friendly and culture-sensitive research approaches based on Sensory Semiotics as key to accessing the complex world of sensory perceptions, and expressing the rich and nuanced imagery individuals associate with them, thereby obtaining a better understanding of consumers' emotional, cognitive and behavioural response to sensory stimuli.

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