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The Bouba-Kiki effect from TikTok explained using basic science and hot celebs

It’s not mean, it’s just based on vibes


A TikTok user recently coined the Bouba-Kiki effect which is essentially all about associating sounds and shapes with specific characteristics. It’s very similar to the rat and frog theory which we saw pop up a while ago on the app. The TikToker uses the theory to explain her taste in men, the Bouba-Kiki effect has taken on a whole new meaning and now people can’t stop applying it to their celebrity crushes.

The Bouba-Kiki effect from TikTok is obviously two made up words so not everyone understands exactly what it is. Here’s an explanation of the Bouba-Kiki effect from TikTok and how it works.

The Bouba-Kiki effect from TikTok is psychological

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So, the Bouba-Kiki effect is a psychological test which brings together shapes and sounds. So obviously the Bouba part is a round shape, similar to a splat. The Kiki part is very sharp, like a star but not as neat. The easiest way to understand it the first time is thinking about hot and cold water. Cold is Kiki because it’s freezing and sharp and hot water is Bouba because it’s warm. Similarly and possibly for basically, a pillow would be a Bouba and a knife would be a Kiki.

Our brains make associations based on shapes and sounds regardless of the actual meaning of the word.

TikToker @talialichtenstein posted a video on 6th March this year and gave a brief explanation of the Bouba-Kiki effect, she said: “If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you don’t.”

She then put it in the context of men she’s attracted to saying she always fancies Bouba men and not Kiki men. So Kiki celebrities would be Kim Kardashian, Robert Pattison and Austin Butler. Bouba celebs would be Florence Pugh, Sarah Paulson and Seth Rogan. It just makes sense, right?

It makes sense, I swear.

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