Analyses of the sensory-relevance of adjective pairs by the modality differential method

Miho Suzuki, Jiro Gyoba, Hideaki Kawabata, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Komatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We used the newly developed "modality differential" (MD) method to investigate the sensory-relevance properties of adjective scales that are widely used in the semantic differential (SD) technique. Participants (N = 342) were asked to rate the relevance of each of 17-19 adjective pairs, selected from a total 75 pairs for ten sensory modalities, using a 7-point scale. We conducted a principal component analysis and a cluster analysis on the obtained MD data. We found that this data were well explained by the three components or three categories of proximal, proprioceptive, and distal-type senses, corresponding to psychological classification of sense modalities. In addition, we analyzed the sensory-relevance properties of the adjective scales that make up the three factors of the SD technique. We found that the adjectives of the Evaluation factor can be regarded as multi-sensory scales that show generally higher relevance magnitudes for multiple modalities. On the other hand, the adjectives making up the Activity and Potency factors show high relevance to specific modalities such as auditory/kinesthetic and tactile modalities, respectively. We discussed differential uses of the MD method for measuring the sensory-relevance of several materials such as artworks or industrial products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-470
Number of pages7
JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjective scales
  • Intersensory processing
  • Semantic differential
  • Sensory modalities
  • Synaesthetic properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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