CrossLab — Sensory Shopping

Investigating the power of senses, shopping and new media

Assignment 2

This assignment will take place inside our classroom at WdKA. You will be working in teams of two again. It is an experiment designed to test your experiences in relation to sight, smell and taste.

What you will need:

  • blindfolds — these were distributed with the 1st Assignment and I asked you to keep them.  We will be needing them again for this assignment.
  • digital camera, to take some photos

What you will be doing:

This assignment is to continue testing senses in isolation in order to understand better how they work together.  As with the previous assignment, a simple test is all it takes to create some interesting experiences.  In this assignment you will try to see how the relationship between sight, sound and taste works.  (or doesn’t).  Some of you have already played with this a bit in Dudok in the last experiment, as I’ve read on your blogs.
In class there will be a selection of 6 different foods that we will be taste-testing to see if we can determine what they are without either seeing or smelling them.

What to do:

Each team will be given a sample of the 6 food types, some spoons and two slips of paper for each team member.  Keep your slip of paper secret, as it contains an order for feeding your partner that they will have to guess.  Once you’re set, here’s how to conduct the experiment:

  • the first person will sample all the 5 foods to see how they taste.  This is done without the blindfold or plugging your nose
  • the first person will then ask the 2nd team member to blindfold themselves and the keep their nose plugged.  At this point, the first person will feed their partner based on the list provided to them.  When all the foods have been sampled, the first person can remove their blindfold and write down the order of the foods they were fed.
  • the 2nd person will ask the first person to put the blindfold on, and will conduct their experiment in the same manner, using the list you were given on the slip of paper as your feeding order.  When finished, ask the 1st person to remove their blindfold and ask them to guess their feeding order.

I’ll be in class this time to explain (in dutch) and assist where needed.  When you’re done, calculate who had the best score, that is, who made the most correct guesses?  Why do you think that is?

At the end of the experiment, I want to tally all the results from the class to determine if any trends existed across groups.  Does tasting the food before the experiment affect the results, and in what way?  How does taste work?  What is the relationship between taste and smell, and vision?  Why do you think these are important to our investigation?  Can you think of any way that you may be able to make use of these odd facts in your design proposals in the coming weeks? (once I tell you what your product scenario is)…

Don’t forget again to bring a camera and take photos to help describe what is going on.  This experiment, including your results, your understanding of the experiment and how it is useful to a visual merchandiser should be written about in your blog.

You can download a copy of this assignment, which is also available in PDF form, by clicking here:  Assignment 2
And again, if there are any questions, you can always email me at g.a.verhoeven [at]

See you in class!

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