Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media

Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Research Author: Association for Psychological Science Last Updated: Jan 23, 2013 - 2:28:55 PM

Learning and Memory May Play a Central Role in Synesthesia

By Association for Psychological Science
Jan 23, 2013 - 2:26:05 PM

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

( - People with color-grapheme synesthesia experience color when viewing written letters or numerals, usually with a particular color evoked by each grapheme (i.e., the letter ‘A' evokes the color red). In a new study, researchers Nathan Witthoft and Jonathan Winawer of Stanford University present data from 11 color grapheme synesthetes who had startlingly similar color-letter pairings that were traceable to childhood toys containing magnetic colored letters.

Their findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Matching data from the 11 participants showed reliably consistent letter-color matches, both within and between testing sessions (data collected online at Participants' matches were consistent even after a delay of up to seven years since their first session.

Participants also performed a timed task, in which they were presented with colored letters for 1 second each and required to indicate whether the color was consistent with their synesthetic association. Their data show that they were able to perform the task rapidly and accurately.

Together, these data suggest that the participants' color-letter associations are specific, automatic, and relatively constant over time, thereby meeting the criteria for true synesthesia.

The degree of similarity in the letter-color pairings across participants, along with the regular repeating pattern in the colors found in each individual's letter-color pairings, indicates that the pairings were learned from the magnetic colored letters that the participants had been exposed to in childhood.

According to the researchers, these are the first and only data to show learned synesthesia of this kind in more than a single individual.

They point out that this does not mean that exposure to the colored letter magnets was sufficient to induce synesthesia in the participants, though it may have increased the chances. After all, many people who do not have synesthesia played with the same colored letter magnets as kids.

Based on their findings, Witthoft and Winawer conclude that a complete explanation of synesthesia must incorporate a central role for learning and memory.



For advertising and promotion on contact Mike McCurdy at: [email protected]  or call 877-634-9180. We are syndicated worldwide and read in 164 countries. We also have over 7,000 journalists as subscribers who may use our content for their own media!




Top of Page

Latest Headlines

+ Lower Availability of Omega-3 fatty Acids Associated with Bipolar Disorder
+ Similar Proteins Protect the Skin of Humans and Turtles
+ Do You Need a Thyroid Test?
+ The Holiday Season 2015
+ Wives’ Earnings Make Gains Relative to Husbands’
+ Ankle Injuries Common During Turkey Day Family Football Fun
+ Lifetime Energy Requirements of Cells, Genes
+ U.S. Eating Disorder Cases Continue Alarming Upward Trend
+ 'Orphan Drug' Loophole Needs Closing
+ Short Winter Days Trigger Aggression Hormones Differently Based on Sex

Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions