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Emotionally mediated synaesthesia

By Jamie Ward

Abstract

This study reports a synaesthete, GW, who experiences synaesthetic colours in response to a limited range of stimuli-namely those that have an emotional connotation. GW is significantly more consistent than a group of controls, and shows a Stroop-like congruency effect when the text colour differs from that reported for her synaesthetic photisms. The names of people who are known personally to GW are more likely to induce a synaesthetic colour than names referring to people with whom she is not personally acquainted and other categories of word (including colour names themselves). This feature resembles a number of reports in the historical literature on synaesthesia. This is explained by the fact that these stimuli are more likely to elicit an emotional response. In support of this, other words that have an emotional connotation (e.g., "love") have a tendency to elicit a synaesthetic response. The valence of the emotion (positive vs. negative) may have some role to play in determining the colour of the stimulus. It is concluded that emotion-colour synaesthesia is a genuine, if unusual, form of synaesthesia

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:14063
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