Construal level and cross-sensory influences: High-level construal increases the effect of color on drink perception.

Because people integrate more information into their representations when they construe a situation abstractly (i.e., on a high level) than when they construe a situation concretely (i.e., on a low level), it was hypothesized that level of construal would also affect cross-sensory influences of visual information on taste perception. In three experiments, participants were first primed with a high-level versus low-level construal mindset using an exemplar—category task. Next, participants sampled beverages in cups that differed in color and rated several qualities of the beverage. It was expected that color would have an influence on beverage perception, especially when participants were primed with a high construal level. In line with this hypothesis, it was found that participants who generated high-level categories in the priming task rated sparkling water as more refreshing in a blue than in a yellow cup (Experiment 1), an energy drink as more sour in a yellow than in a blue cup (Experiment 2), and coffee as hotter in a red than in a blue cup (Experiment 3). The findings provide the first evidence that a high level of construal can increase cross-sensory assimilation. Possible processes are discussed, such as the integration of objects and the integration of sensory information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)