Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bouba and Kiki

Show someone two shaps like this. Ask them which is a "Bouba" and which is a "Kiki." Almost everyone says the curvy one is a Bouba and the sharp one is the Kiki.
What is going on? No one knows for sure. Some say it's because the letter "B" is bloblike and the letter K is sharp. Or maybe "Kiki" sounds sharper than "Bouba". Interesting how we associate concrete properties with abstract things like sounds and letters.
Something just occurred to me.
Like a lot of people, I associate colors with words, letters and numbers. If I actually saw these colors when I looked at text, I'd have what's called Synesthesia .
I don't have it.* On paper letters look black (or whatever color they're printed.) It's different in my mind. B is a warm green and K is a a cold blue. Look what colors I happened to choose for Kiki and Bouba.
Come to think of it, the green scheme of my blog is similar to my mental color of the name "Namowal". Are all my artistic decisions actually being run by a mental quirk? What other decisions (aesthetic or logical) are steered this way?

edit 9/11
*Actually, it seems I do have it. According to the now expanded wikipedia article, you don't have to actually see the colors- association counts too.

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