Synaesthesia is associated with enhanced, self-rated visual imagery

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (3):1032-1039 (2008)
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Abstract

Although the condition known as synaesthesia is currently undergoing a scientific resurgence, to date the literature has largely focused on the heterogeneous nature of synaesthesia across individuals. In order to provide a better understanding of synaesthesia, however, general characteristics need to be investigated. Synaesthetic experiences are often described as occurring ‘internally’ or in the ‘mind’s eye’, which is remarkably similar to how we would describe our experience of visual mental imagery. We assessed the role of visual imagery in synaesthesia by sampling a large group of synaesthetes and found that they report experiencing more vivid mental images than controls. These findings have important implications for our general understanding of synaesthesia and, in particular, emphasize the need to control for visual imagery in behavioural and neuroimaging paradigms

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