Iconic inferences about personality

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The current study offers a new case of an iconic relationship amongst different modalities of cognition, going beyond traditional studies of sound symbolism. We report experiments that show that particular types of personalities can be iconically related to particular types of sounds and shapes. Two experiments show that “inaccessible types of personality” are iconically associated with a class of sounds called “obstruents” as well as with angular shapes. The first connection – the one between personalities and sounds – adds to the large body of literature on sound symbolism. The second connection – the link between personalities and shapes – goes beyond the traditional cases of sound symbolism, instantiating a case of trans-modal iconic projection from one cognitive modality to another.


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