Mental imagery and synaesthesia: Is synaesthesia from internally-generated stimuli possible?

Spiller, Mary Jane and Jansari, Ashok S.. 2008. Mental imagery and synaesthesia: Is synaesthesia from internally-generated stimuli possible? Cognition, 109(1), pp. 143-151. ISSN 0010-0277 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Previous studies provide empirical support for the reported colour experience in grapheme-colour synaesthesia by measuring the synaesthetic experience from an externally presented grapheme. The current study explored the synaesthetic experience resulting from a visual mental image of a grapheme. Grapheme-colour synaesthetes (N = 6) and matched controls (N = 10 per synaesthete) completed a visual mental imagery task that involved visualising a letter and making a size-based decision about it. The background colour that the grapheme was visualised against was manipulated so that it was congruent or incongruent with the synaesthetic colour for the grapheme being visualised. Compared to matched controls, an effect of colour condition was found for four of the six synaesthetes, although importantly the direction of the effect varied between synaesthetes. In addition, a significant effect of group was found, as the synaesthetes were all faster than the matched controls at the imagery task, regardless of background colour. We conclude that there is some support for subjective reports of imagery-induced synaesthesia, but there are important individual differences. These findings are discussed in relation to both the visual imagery and synaesthesia literature.

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Synaesthesia; Visual mental imagery; Perception; Individual differences

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Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2015 15:11

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 16:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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