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A Lina Teichmann, Mark R Nieuwenstein, Anina N Rich
For digit-color synaesthetes, digits elicit vivid experiences of color that are highly consistent for each individual. The conscious experience of synaesthesia is typically unidirectional: Digits evoke colors but not vice versa. There is an ongoing debate about whether synaesthetes have a memory advantage over non-synaesthetes. One key question in this debate is whether synaesthetes have a general superiority or whether any benefit is specific to a certain type of material. Here, we focus on immediate serial recall and ask digit-color synaesthetes and controls to memorize digit and color sequences...
April 6, 2017: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance
Julia Simner, Angela E Bain
Grapheme-colour synaesthesia is characterized by conscious and consistent associations between letters and colours, or between numbers and colours (e.g., synaesthetes might see A as red, 7 as green). Our study explored the development of this condition in a group of randomly sampled child synaesthetes. Two previous studies (Simner & Bain, 2013, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 603; Simner, Harrold, Creed, Monro, & Foulkes, 2009, Brain, 132, 57) had screened over 600 primary school children to find the first randomly sampled cohort of child synaesthetes...
March 29, 2017: British Journal of Psychology
Jamie Ward, Claire Hoadley, James E A Hughes, Paula Smith, Carrie Allison, Simon Baron-Cohen, Julia Simner
Several studies have suggested that there is a link between synaesthesia and autism but the nature of that link remains poorly characterised. The present study considers whether atypical sensory sensitivity may be a common link between the conditions. Sensory hypersensitivity (aversion to certain sounds, touch, etc., or increased ability to make sensory discriminations) and/or hyposensitivity (desire to stimulate the senses , or a reduced response to sensory stimuli are a recently introduced diagnostic feature of autism spectrum conditions (ASC)...
March 7, 2017: Scientific Reports
Isabel Arend, Sarit Ashkenazi, Kenneth Yuen, Shiran Ofir, Avishai Henik
A horizontal mental number line (MNL) is used to describe how quantities are represented across space. In humans, the neural correlates associated with such a representation are found in different areas of the posterior parietal cortex, especially, the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). In a phenomenon known as number-space synaesthesia, individuals visualise numbers in specific spatial locations. The experience of a MNL for number-space synaesthetes is explicit, idiosyncratic, and highly stable over time. It remains an open question whether the mechanisms underlying numerical-spatial association are shared by synaesthetes and nonsynaesthetes...
December 23, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Stephanie C Goodhew, Evan Kidd
Synaesthesia is the neuropsychological phenomenon in which individuals experience unusual sensory associations, such as experiencing particular colours in response to particular words. While it was once thought the particular pairings between stimuli were arbitrary and idiosyncratic to particular synaesthetes, there is now growing evidence for a systematic psycholinguistic basis to the associations. Here we sought to assess the explanatory value of quantifiable lexical association measures (via latent semantic analysis; LSA) in the pairings observed between words and colours in synaesthesia...
February 2017: Acta Psychologica
Marcus R Watson, Jan Chromý, Lyle Crawford, David M Eagleman, James T Enns, Kathleen A Akins
According to one theory, synaesthesia develops, or is preserved, because it helps children learn. If so, it should be more common among adults who faced greater childhood learning challenges. In the largest survey of synaesthesia to date, the incidence of synaesthesia was compared among native speakers of languages with transparent (easier) and opaque (more difficult) orthographies. Contrary to our prediction, native speakers of Czech (transparent) were more likely to be synaesthetes than native speakers of English (opaque)...
February 2017: Consciousness and Cognition
Agnieszka B Janik McErlean, Tirta Susilo, Constantin Rezlescu, Amy Bray, Michael J Banissy
Synaesthesia is a rare phenomenon in which stimulation in one modality (e.g., audition) evokes a secondary percept not associated with the first (e.g., colour). Prior work has suggested links between synaesthesia and other neurodevelopmental conditions that are linked to altered social perception abilities. With this in mind, here we sought to examine social perception abilities in grapheme-colour synaesthesia (where achromatic graphemes evoke colour experiences) by examining facial identity and facial emotion perception in synaesthetes and controls...
October 2016: Cognitive Neuropsychology
Francesca R Farina, Kevin J Mitchell, Richard A P Roche
Synaesthesia is a developmental condition involving cross-communication between sensory modalities or substreams whereby an inducer (e.g. a sound) automatically evokes a concurrent percept in another modality (e.g. a colour). Whether this condition arises due to atypical structural connectivity (e.g., between normally unconnected cortical areas) or altered neurochemistry remains a central question. We report the exceptional cases of two synaesthetes - subjects AB and CD - both of whom experience coloured auras around individuals, as well as coloured perceptions in response to music...
November 28, 2016: European Journal of Neuroscience
J Simner, M K Rehme, D A Carmichael, M E Bastin, E Sprooten, A M McIntosh, S M Lawrie, M Zedler
Judgments about personalities and social traits can be made by relatively brief exposure to animate living things. Here we show that unusual architecture in the microstructure of the human brain is related to atypical mental projections of personality and social structure onto things that are neither living nor animate. Our participants experience automatic, life-long and consistent crossmodal associations between language sequences (e.g., letters, numbers and days) and complex personifications (e.g., A is a businessman; 7 a good-natured woman)...
October 2016: Neuropsychologia
V S Ramachandran, C Chunharas, Z Marcus
We propose a hypothesis concerning the neural basis of the mental 'calendar' we all carry around in our brains, based on observations we made on a 25year old 'projector synaesthete', EA, who displays some novel and instructive features. In addition to her grapheme-color synaesthesia, she has a circular 'calendar line', laid out vividly in front of her in the horizontal plane with December 31st passing through the middle of her chest and other months arranged in clockwise sequence ending with December on her right (July was 3 feet in front of her)...
September 2016: Medical Hypotheses
Simon Baron-Cohen, Emma Robson, Meng-Chuan Lai, Carrie Allison
Research has linked Mirror-Touch (MT) synaesthesia with enhanced empathy. We test the largest sample of MT synaesthetes to date to examine two claims that have been previously made: that MT synaesthetes (1) have superior empathy; and (2) only ever experience their MT synaesthesia in response to viewing a person being touched. Given that autism has been suggested to involve deficits in cognitive empathy, we also test two predictions: that MT synaesthetes should (3) be less likely than general population individuals without MT synaesthesia to have an autism spectrum condition (ASC), if MT is characterized by superior empathy; and (4) have fewer autistic traits...
2016: PloS One
Oren Shriki, Yaniv Sadeh, Jamie Ward
Synaesthesia is an unusual perceptual experience in which an inducer stimulus triggers a percept in a different domain in addition to its own. To explore the conditions under which synaesthesia evolves, we studied a neuronal network model that represents two recurrently connected neural systems. The interactions in the network evolve according to learning rules that optimize sensory sensitivity. We demonstrate several scenarios, such as sensory deprivation or heightened plasticity, under which synaesthesia can evolve even though the inputs to the two systems are statistically independent and the initial cross-talk interactions are zero...
July 2016: PLoS Computational Biology
Jamie Ward, Nicolas Rothen, Acer Chang, Ryota Kanai
This study considers how inter-individual differences in visual ability are structured. Visual ability could be a single entity (along the lines of general intelligence, or 'g'), or could be structured according to major anatomical or physiological pathways (dorsal v. ventral streams; magno- v. parvo-cellular systems); or may be a finer-grained mosaic of abilities. To test this, we employed seven visual psychophysical tests (generating 16 measures) on a large (100+) sample of neurotypical participants. A Varimax-rotated PCA (Principal Component Analysis) revealed a two-factor solution that broadly corresponds to a high and low spatial frequency division (consistent with a magno/parvo distinction)...
June 29, 2016: Vision Research
Tessa M van Leeuwen, Sina A Trautmann-Lengsfeld, Mark T Wallace, Andreas K Engel, Micah M Murray
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 29, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Shenbing Kuang
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Cassandra D Gould van Praag, Sarah Garfinkel, Jamie Ward, Daniel Bor, Anil K Seth
In grapheme-colour synaesthesia (GCS), the presentation of letters or numbers induces an additional 'concurrent' experience of colour. Early functional MRI (fMRI) investigations of GCS reported activation in colour-selective area V4 during the concurrent experience. However, others have failed to replicate this key finding. We reasoned that individual differences in synaesthetic phenomenology might explain this inconsistency in the literature. To test this hypothesis, we examined fMRI BOLD responses in a group of grapheme-colour synaesthetes (n=20) and matched controls (n=20) while characterising the individual phenomenology of the synaesthetes along dimensions of 'automaticity' and 'localisation'...
July 29, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Devin B Terhune, David P Luke, Mendel Kaelen, Mark Bolstridge, Amanda Feilding, David Nutt, Robin Carhart-Harris, Jamie Ward
The induction of synaesthesia in non-synaesthetes has the potential to illuminate the mechanisms that contribute to the development of this condition and the shaping of its phenomenology. Previous research suggests that lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) reliably induces synaesthesia-like experiences in non-synaesthetes. However, these studies suffer from a number of methodological limitations including lack of a placebo control and the absence of rigorous measures used to test established criteria for genuine synaesthesia...
July 29, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Agnieszka B Janik McErlean, Michael J Banissy
Synaesthesia is a condition in which one property of a stimulus triggers a secondary experience not typically associated with the first (e.g., seeing achromatic graphemes can evoke the perception of color). Recent work has explored a variety of cognitive and perceptual traits associated with synaesthesia. One example is in the domain of personality, where higher rates of positive schizotypy and openness to experience and lower agreeableness have been reported in synaesthetes who experience color as their evoked sensation relative to typical adult controls...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Jennifer L Mankin, Christopher Thompson, Holly P Branigan, Julia Simner
This study used grapheme-colour synaesthesia, a neurological condition where letters evoke a strong and consistent impression of colour, as a tool to investigate normal language processing. For two sets of compound words varying by lexical frequency (e.g., football vs lifevest) or semantic transparency (e.g., flagpole vs magpie), we asked 19 grapheme-colour synaesthetes to choose their dominant synaesthetic colour using an online colour palette. Synaesthetes could then select a second synaesthetic colour for each word if they experienced one...
May 2016: Cognition
Marie de Guzman, Geoffrey Bird, Michael J Banissy, Caroline Catmur
We review the evidence that an ability to achieve a precise balance between representing the self and representing other people is crucial in social interaction. This ability is required for imitation, perspective-taking, theory of mind and empathy; and disruption to this ability may contribute to the symptoms of clinical and sub-clinical conditions, including autism spectrum disorder and mirror-touch synaesthesia. Moving beyond correlational approaches, a recent intervention study demonstrated that training participants to control representations of the self and others improves their ability to control imitative behaviour, and to take another's visual perspective...
January 19, 2016: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
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