Inventory of Phonetic Associations (Experimental)

This is an interactive cognitive test that measures the degree to which you make associations between sound and meaning in the way typical of humans.


It seems that humans have an inherant preference to associate certain sounds with different feelings or meanings. The "Bouba/kiki effect" is the classic demonstration of this. When people are given random sounds and asked to pair them with random shapes it usually ends up that most people do it the same way, even though there seems no explainable reason to do so. And this does not seem to depend on culture. It has been found that the strength of these associations correlate with normal verbal development and that people with autism exhibit them barely at all.

The Inventory of Phonetic Associations was developed by exhaustively searching for nonsense words the were reliable associated with different meanings. Taken all together they produce a score respresenting how typical a person's associations are. See the documentation for more background and information.

Test Instructions

The test has 50 items. For each you are given a nonsense word and you must indicate what you think it sounds like it would mean between two options.


This test is provided for educational and entertainment use only. It should not be used as psychological advice of any kind and comes without any guarantee of accuracy or fitness for any particular purpose. Also, your responses may be recorded and anonymously used for research or otherwise distributed.

  Updated: 1 February 2021
  Copyright: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
  Privacy policy
  Results page and public comments