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Matthias E Liechti
All modern clinical studies using the classic hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in healthy subjects or patients in the last 25 years are reviewed herein. There were five recent studies in healthy participants and one in patients. In a controlled setting, LSD acutely induced bliss, audiovisual synesthesia, altered meaning of perceptions, derealization, depersonalization, and mystical experiences. These subjective effects of LSD were mediated by the 5-HT2A receptor. LSD increased feelings of closeness to others, openness, trust, and suggestibility...
April 27, 2017: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Mi-Jeong Kang, Yeseul Kim, Ji-Young Shin, Chai-Youn Kim
Individuals with grapheme-color synesthesia experience idiosyncratic colors when viewing achromatic letters or digits. Despite large individual differences in grapheme-color association, synesthetes tend to associate graphemes sharing a perceptual feature with similar synesthetic colors. Sound has been suggested as one such feature. In the present study, we investigated whether graphemes of which representative phonemes have similar phonetic features tend to be associated with analogous synesthetic colors. We tested five Korean multilingual synesthetes on a color-matching task using graphemes from Korean, English, and Japanese orthography...
2017: Frontiers in Psychology
Lucie Bouvet, Jacques-Edouard Barbier, Nia Cason, Serge Bakchine, Nathalie Ehrlé
OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behavior, and other symptoms that cause social or occupational dysfunction. However, some of these symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, can be indicative of other phenomena such as synesthesia and savant abilities. The aim of this paper is to highlight how neurological and psychiatric conditions can be confused and how formal neuropsychological evaluations can be necessary to distinguish them...
February 17, 2017: Clinical Neuropsychologist
G Volberg, A S Chockley, M W Greenlee
Grapheme-color synesthetes perceive concurrent colors for some objectively achromatic graphemes (inducers). Using oscillatory responses in the electroencephalogram, we tested the hypothesis that inducers automatically attract spatial attention and, thus, favor a conscious experience of color. Achromatic inducers and real-colored non-inducers were presented to the left or to the right visual hemifield and orientation judgments were required for subsequently presented Gabor patches. The graphemes were irrelevant for the task so that the related brain response was purely stimulus-driven...
March 3, 2017: Neuropsychologia
Olympia Colizoli, Jaap M J Murre, H Steven Scholte, Romke Rouw
Perception is inherently subjective, and individual differences in phenomenology are well illustrated by the phenomenon of synesthesia (highly specific, consistent, and automatic cross-modal experiences, in which the external stimulus corresponding to the additional sensation is absent). It is unknown why some people develop synesthesia and others do not. In the current study, we tested whether neural markers related to having synesthesia in the family were evident in brain function and structure. Relatives of synesthetes (who did not have any type of synesthesia themselves) and matched controls read specially prepared books with colored letters for several weeks and were scanned before and after reading using magnetic resonance imaging...
February 14, 2017: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Asifa Majid, Laura Speed, Ilja Croijmans, Artin Arshamian
Olfaction is often viewed as difficult, yet the empirical evidence suggests a different picture. A closer look shows people around the world differ in their ability to detect, discriminate, and name odors. This gives rise to the question of what influences our ability to smell. Instead of focusing on olfactory deficiencies, this review presents a positive perspective by focusing on factors that make someone a better smeller. We consider three driving forces in improving olfactory ability: one's biological makeup, one's experience, and the environment...
January 1, 2017: Perception
Jared Medina, Carrie DePasquale
Individuals with mirror-touch synesthesia (MTS) report feeling touch on their own body when seeing someone else being touched. We examined how the body schema - an on-line representation of body position in space - is involved in mapping touch from a viewed body to one's own body. We showed 45 mirror-touch synesthetes videos of a hand being touched, varying the location of the viewed touch by hand (left, right), skin surface (palmar, dorsal) and finger (index, ring). Participant hand posture was either congruent or incongruent with the posture of the viewed hand...
March 2017: Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior
Agnieszka B Janik McErlean, Michael J Banissy
Synesthetic experiences of color have been traditionally conceptualized as a perceptual phenomenon. However, recent evidence suggests a role of higher order cognition in the formation of synesthetic experiences. Here, we discuss how synesthetic experiences of color differ from and influence veridical color processing, and how non-perceptual processes such as imagery and color memory might play a role in eliciting synesthetic color experience.
December 10, 2016: Topics in Cognitive Science
Michael Kometer, Franz X Vollenweider
Serotonergic hallucinogens, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, and N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), are famous for their capacity to temporally and profoundly alter an individual's visual experiences. These visual alterations show consistent attributes despite large inter- and intra-individual variances. Many reports document a common perception of colors as more saturated, with increased brightness and contrast in the environment ("Visual Intensifications"). Environmental objects might be altered in size ("Visual illusions") or take on a modified and special meaning for the subject ("Altered self-reference")...
November 30, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Zixin Yong, Po-Jang Hsieh, Dan Milea
Acquired auditory-visual synesthesia (AVS) is a rare neurological sign, in which specific auditory stimulation triggers visual experience. In this study, we used event-related fMRI to explore the brain regions correlated with acquired monocular sound-induced phosphenes, which occurred 2 months after unilateral visual loss due to an ischemic optic neuropathy. During the fMRI session, 1-s pure tones at various pitches were presented to the patient, who was asked to report occurrence of sound-induced phosphenes by pressing one of the two buttons (yes/no)...
October 19, 2016: Experimental Brain Research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation Cérébrale
J Stone, M Vermeulen
Functional (psychogenic) sensory symptoms are those in which the patient genuinely experiences alteration or absence of normal sensation in the absence of neurologic disease. The hallmark of functional sensory symptoms is the presence of internal inconsistency revealing a pattern of symptoms governed by abnormally focused attention. In this chapter we review the history of this area, different clinical presentations, diagnosis (including sensitivity of diagnostic tests), treatment, experimental studies, and prognosis...
2017: Handbook of Clinical Neurology
Kaitlyn R Bankieris, Richard N Aslin
Most current theories regarding the development of synesthesia focus on cross-modal neural connections and genetic underpinnings, but recent evidence has revitalized the potential role of associative learning. In the present study, we compared synesthetes' and controls' ability to explicitly learn shape-color pairings. Using a continuous measure of accuracy and multiple testing blocks, we found that synesthetes learned these pairings faster than controls. In a delayed retest, synesthetes outperformed controls, demonstrating enhanced long-term memory for shape-color associations...
September 2016: I-Perception
Kaitlyn R Bankieris, Richard N Aslin
Although cross-modal neural connections and genetic underpinnings are prominent in most current theories regarding the development of synesthesia, the potential role of associative learning in the formation of synesthetic associations has recently been revitalized. In this study, we investigated implicit associative learning in synesthetes and nonsynesthetes by recording reaction times to a target whose color was probabilistically correlated with its shape. A continuous measure of target detection at multiple time points during learning revealed that synesthetes and nonsynesthetes learn associations differently...
September 9, 2016: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Simon Lacey, Margaret Martinez, Kelly McCormick, K Sathian
Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which an experience in one domain is accompanied by an involuntary secondary experience in another, unrelated domain; in classical synesthesia, these associations are arbitrary and idiosyncratic. Cross-modal correspondences refer to universal associations between seemingly unrelated sensory features, e.g., auditory pitch and visual size. Some argue that these phenomena form a continuum, with classical synesthesia being an exaggeration of universal cross-modal correspondences, whereas others contend that the two are quite different, since cross-modal correspondences are non-arbitrary, non-idiosyncratic, and do not involve secondary experiences...
November 2016: European Journal of Neuroscience
Gaby Pfeifer, Jamie Ward, Dennis Chan, Natasha Sigala
The representational account of memory envisages perception and memory to be on a continuum rather than in discretely divided brain systems [Bussey, T. J., & Saksida, L. M. Memory, perception, and the ventral visual-perirhinal-hippocampal stream: Thinking outside of the boxes. Hippocampus, 17, 898-908, 2007]. We tested this account using a novel between-group design with young grapheme-color synesthetes, older adults, and young controls. We investigated how the disparate sensory-perceptual abilities between these groups translated into associative memory performance for visual stimuli that do not induce synesthesia...
July 26, 2016: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Matthew H Roberts, Joel I Shenker
Patient NS is a 28year-old female who went blind in her early twenties as a result of S-cone syndrome, a degenerative retinal disorder. A few years after losing her vision, she started experiencing visual perceptions of her hands as she moved them and objects that came into contact with her hands. Over the course of a year, these cross-modal sensations evolved to become veridical visual experiences accurately representative of her hands, objects she touched, and to some degree, objects she could infer from her immediate surroundings...
August 2016: Brain and Cognition
Joanna Atkinson, Tanya Lyons, David Eagleman, Bencie Woll, Jamie Ward
Many synesthetes experience colors when viewing letters or digits. We document, for the first time, an analogous phenomenon among users of signed languages who showed color synesthesia for fingerspelled letters and signed numerals. Four synesthetes experienced colors when they viewed manual letters and numerals (in two cases, colors were subjectively projected on to the hands). There was a correspondence between the colors experienced for written graphemes and their manual counterparts, suggesting that the development of these two types of synesthesia is interdependent despite the fact that these systems are superficially distinct and rely on different perceptual recognition mechanisms in the brain...
August 2016: Neurocase
Michele Miozzo, Bruno Laeng
It has long been observed that certain words induce multiple synesthetic colors, a phenomenon that has remained largely unexplored. We report here on the distinct synesthetic colors two synesthetes experienced with closed sets of concepts (digits, weekdays, months). For example, Saturday was associated with green, like other word starting with s; however, Saturday also had its specific color (red). Auditory priming and Visual Color Stroop tasks were used to understand the cognitive mechanisms supporting the distinct synesthetic colors...
November 2016: Cognitive Processing
Omer Linkovski, Naama Katzin, Moti Salti
Since mirror neurons were introduced to the neuroscientific community more than 20 years ago, they have become an elegant and intuitive account for different cognitive mechanisms (e.g., empathy, goal understanding) and conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorders). Recently, mirror neurons were suggested to be the mechanism underlying a specific type of synesthesia. Mirror-touch synesthesia is a phenomenon in which individuals experience somatosensory sensations when seeing someone else being touched. Appealing as it is, careful delineation is required when applying this mechanism...
May 30, 2016: Neuroscientist: a Review Journal Bringing Neurobiology, Neurology and Psychiatry
Brady Berman, Mark Serper
Synesthetic-pseudosynesthetic characteristics have been hypothesized to be a schizophrenia endophenotype, a developmental feature, and/or a symptom of psychosis. Few studies to date, however, have examined whether individuals at risk for psychosis have synesthetic symptoms. We examined the relationship between hue and pitch in high psychosis prone (HP; n = 30) and low psychosis prone individuals (LP; n = 31). Synesthesia was evaluated using self-report and two performance-based tasks. Results revealed that HP subjects experienced more synesthetic experiences than the LP only on the self-report measure...
August 2016: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
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