The concept of sharp- and soft-sounding words was introduced in 1929, when Estonian psychologist Wolfgang Kohler designed an experiment that asked people to choose which of two shapes was named “bouba” and which was “kiki”.
The vast majority of people choose kiki for the orange angular shape and bouba for the purple rounded shape.
Professor Spence thinks this strange language can influence our taste buds.
Working with world-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal, he is trying to directly combine an auditory experience into a dish.
“We’ve been giving people dishes and asking them questions about them, including is that food more of a ‘bouba’ or a ‘kiki’? Or is it a ‘maluma’ or ‘takete’?” he told BBC News.