Can synaesthesia be cultivated?: Indications from surveys of meditators

Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (s 4-5):5-17 (2005)
Synaesthesia is considered a rare perceptual capacity, and one that is not capable of cultivation. However, meditators report the experience quite commonly, and in questionnaire surveys, respondents claimed to experience synaesthesia in 35% of meditation retreatants, in 63% of a group of regular meditators, and in 86% of advanced teachers. These rates were significantly higher than in nonmeditator controls, and displayed significant correlations with measures of amount of meditation experience. A review of ancient texts found reports suggestive of synaesthesia in advanced meditators from India and China. These findings suggest that synaesthesia may be cultivated by meditation, and that laboratory studies of meditators could be rewarding.
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