Bidirectional lexical-gustatory synesthesia

  • Richer F
  • Beaufils G
  • Poirier S
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In developmental lexical-gustatory synesthesia, specific words (inducers) can trigger taste perceptions (concurrents) and these synesthetic associations are generally stable. We describe a case of multilingual lexical-gustatory synesthesia for whom some synesthesias were bidirectional as some tastes also triggered auditory word associations. Evoked concurrents could be gustatory but also tactile sensations. In addition to words and pseudowords, many voices were effective inducers, suggesting increased connections between cortical taste areas and both voice-selective and language-selective areas. Lasting changes in some evoked tastes occurred during childhood suggesting that some plasticity can be present after the initial learning of associations. Inducers were often linked to taste concurrents phonologically or semantically, but also through identifiable childhood episodes (persons or events). Several inducers were phonologically linked to episodic inducers suggesting a process of secondary acquisition for many inducers. Implications of these observations are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autobiographical events
  • Brain development
  • Consciousness
  • Insula
  • Oral sensations
  • Plasticity
  • Timbre
  • Voice processing

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  • François Richer

  • Guillaume Alexandre Beaufils

  • Sophie Poirier

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