I came across a very curious thing yesterday. The way in which we associate qualities with things and thus develop intuitive beliefs.
As an example, look at these two shapes.
If I tell you one is called Bouba and the other Kiki, you can probably intuitively know which is which. Yes, that’s right, apparently the vast majority of people will agree that Kiki is the star-like one and Bouba the more blobby one. No-one can tell you why they think this, though, beyond statements like “Bouba goes more appropriately with that shape”.
Nor can anthropologists yet agree why this is so. Although it seems it is something to do with belief systems, and may have some relationship to synaesthesia — that peculiar trait where people associate colours with words or smells with sounds: Monday is always red; the note C# always smells of rubber.
Let’s try another one.
Is a lemon fast or slow?
It’s a curious, almost nonsensical, question. But think about it for a minute ... and most people will intuitively conclude that lemons are fast.
And for me (I have no other data on this) it seems possible to intuitively rank citrus fruit by speed: grapefruit are faster than oranges but slower than lemons, while limes are faster than lemons.
Find out more about such intuitive beliefs and synaesthesia.