Multisense: Address all senses simultaneously

Multi-sensual design: feeling emotions with all senses

Each of the sensory modalities receives and processes signals in its own sign code, which can evoke feelings or even trigger experiential effects. The emotional experience is all the more intense for the recipient when stimuli not only reach one level of perception (monosensory) but also “stimulate” as many sensory channels as possible simultaneously (multisensual). The probability of associative links also increases in the set. As a result, images and messages manifest themselves even more deeply.

For illustration, here are some simple examples:

A firework display appeals to the eyes, ears and sense of smell; likewise a laser show, which is perceived visually, auditory and olfactory (the smell of the fog and any odorous substances in it). And some people will even feel the flashes of light as a haptic experience; the music also hammers in their stomachs and on their clothes.

So it makes a lot of sense to address as many channels of perception as possible when planning an event. Thus, the staged images and messages are effective through all sensory channels.

The following is a list of the various ways in which stimuli can be used:

Visual stimuli that reach the eye (a good three quarters of all information is perceived via this sensory organ. Reception and processing take place quickly and often unconsciously. Almost automatically, the receiver recognizes and understands signals and signs that have already been learned. Therefore, visual stimuli are particularly suitable for generating emotional effects)

Auditory stimuli that penetrate the ear (the perception of speech, music and sounds is more complex than with visual signals; the cognitive effort in memory is higher. Words and sounds often have an associative effect, they trigger individual sensations in the listener or he associates special meanings with them)

Tactile stimuli touch and “get under the skin” (the sense of touch consists of a multitude of sensory perception organs on the skin surface. Different types of signals thus trigger spontaneous emotional reactions in the recipient according to the evaluation grid “feels good – is uncomfortable”. Heat, cold, touch and pain are not only sensed through direct contact (haptic stimuli), but also indirectly “felt” through associative language (this touches me, it gets under my skin, touching someone properly or too hard or letting go))

Olfactory stimuli pull into the nose (Odours are absorbed via the nasal olfactory field and passed on to the limbic system. With the air we breathe, scent molecules also reach the bronchi. This fastest of all senses reacts extremely sensitively to stimulus impulses.

Scent molecules directly create emotional moods or even provoke biologically pre-programmed behavioral patterns (e.g. musk).
Intensity, scent direction as well as subjective perception determine whether and how olfactory signals “arrive”.

In too large a dose, all essences smell penetrating and repulsive, especially since only a fifth of the known scents are perceived as pleasant.
After five minutes at the latest, the nasal mucosa becomes saturated and a new scent is no longer perceived; this can be avoided if the signals are emitted intermittently at intervals.

In many cases, the recipient unconsciously experiences fragrances as a background phenomenon that does indeed have a considerable influence on his or her well-being.
Fragrances can create their own atmosphere at events

Thermal stimuli respond to the sense of temperature (heat and cold are sensed via the skin surface. Information is absorbed and processed quickly, directly and without cognitive effort. Thermal signals directly trigger emotional sensations. Their additive use is particularly effective: they intensify optical-auditive impressions, so that staged images can be felt at close range and experienced emotionally by raising or lowering the ambient temperature. The Antarctic feeling includes icy cold, a Sahara scenario must radiate heat)

Gustatory stimuli taste sweet, salty, sour or bitter (sensory cells in the mouth are responsible for the perception of gustatory signals. Even if food and drink are elementary needs whose satisfaction triggers a sense of well-being, the intake of food and drink remains only a gimmick within the framework of an overall experience. Gustatory stimuli only work in concert with other stimuli. Adventure parks and shopping worlds use gastronomy to round off the experience as an element of enjoyment. The experience gastronomy creates the profane food intake as an emotional experience)


Intense, bright colors, graceful, delicate forms, abstract structures that seem to float freely through space, moving seemingly weightlessly through the audience and are not tangible despite their extraordinary nature; water sculptures on different levels and heights, illuminated with many colorful lights; holography-like images and graphics on water screens that seem to float freely in the middle of space


A dynamic interplay between thunderous music and light, slow sounds lets the audience – without being able to rest – stagger back and forth between different emotional stages, always in exciting anticipation of the now following sequence of events. In addition, the sound of the water masses, which alternately ripple, murmur and immediately afterwards thunder loudly, which from different heights pave their way back into the pool


Laser beams “touch” people with their thin light fingers and thus penetrate pleasantly into their personal intimacy; in addition, a refreshing wind from wind machines blows through hair and clothing, and the vibrations of the dynamic music “tremble” all over the body; the cooling refreshment of the water covers the body with pleasant light goose bumps


A light, pleasant, stimulating scent is evenly distributed in the room by the fog generators. Although it is only subconsciously registered by the audience, it provides a fine rounding off of the overall impression of the performance. Through the movement of the water, not only is the purified, fresh ambient air perceived in the nose, but also the unmistakable smell of the water itself has a calming to stimulating effect on the olfactory nerves (as one can also experience after a refreshing rain shower)

All these senses are addressed to all people without exception, regardless of a specific target group. It does not matter what age, gender, race, level of education, position or language group the audience belongs to. Both a five-year-old and a 95-year-old, male or female, tall or short, thick or thin, black, white, yellow, red – all completely indifferent.