Beyond visual imagery: How modality-specific is enhanced mental imagery in synesthesia?

Spiller, Mary Jane; Jonas, Clare N.; Simner, Julia and Jansari, Ashok S.. 2014. Beyond visual imagery: How modality-specific is enhanced mental imagery in synesthesia? Consciousness and Cognition, 31, pp. 73-85. ISSN 1053-8100 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Synesthesia based in visual modalities has been associated with reports of vivid visual imagery. We extend this finding to consider whether other forms of synesthesia are also associated with enhanced imagery, and whether this enhancement reflects the modality of synesthesia. We used self-report imagery measures across multiple sensory modalities, comparing synesthetes’ responses (with a variety of forms of synesthesia) to those of non-synesthete matched controls. Synesthetes reported higher levels of visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory and tactile imagery and a greater level of imagery use. Furthermore, their reported enhanced imagery is restricted to the modalities involved in the individual’s synesthesia. There was also a relationship between the number of forms of synesthesia an individual has, and the reported vividness of their imagery, highlighting the need for future research to consider the impact of multiple forms of synesthesia. We also recommend the use of behavioral measures to validate these self-report findings.

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Synesthesia, Mental imagery, Visual imagery, Auditory imagery, Gustatory imagery, Tactile imagery, Olfactory imagery

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14 June 2013Submitted
15 November 2014Published Online

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Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2020 11:06

Last Modified:

06 Apr 2020 11:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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