Now, being a loyal follower of all things psychological, as I’m sure you are, you’ll have heard of synaesthesia by now. If not, trundle on over to Wikipedia and have a quick read.
Originally when this cross-sensory perception became known, researchers were keen to see if people were really having a really real experience or whether it was, to some extent, a fiction. How permanent actually is the connection between, for example, the number 32 and the smell of recently cut grass. Real synaesthetes passed the test and so researchers moved onto something more advanced.
Here in the latest research published in Neuron, a heavyweight-type journal, V S Ramachandran (Reith lecturer from 2003) and others have found further evidence that synaesthetes are experiencing something real and different from the rest of us.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Putting people into an fMRI scanner, the researchers found that synaesthetes showed greater activation in the colour perception region of the cortex. Not only that but different synaesthetes showed different patterns of activation suggesting they might each be having diverse experiences.
ScienceDaily (Press Release)
Individual Differences among Grapheme-Color Synesthetes: Brain-Behavior Correlations [Full article PDF]