Emotionally mediated synaesthesia

  • Ward J
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This study reports a synaesthete, GW, who experiences synaesthetic colours in response to a limited\r
range of stimuli—namely those that have an emotional connotation. GW is significantly more consistent\r
than a group of controls, and shows a Stroop-like congruency effect when the text colour differs\r
from that reported for her synaesthetic photisms. The names of people who are known personally to\r
GW are more likely to induce a synaesthetic colour than names referring to people with whom she is not\r
personally acquainted and other categories of word (including colour names themselves). This feature\r
resembles a number of reports in the historical literature on synaesthesia. This is explained by the fact\r
that these stimuli are more likely to elicit an emotional response. In support of this, other words that\r
have an emotional connotation (e.g., “love”) have a tendency to elicit a synaesthetic response. The\r
valence of the emotion (positive vs. negative) may have some role to play in determining the colour\r
of the stimulus. It is concluded that emotion-colour synaesthesia is a genuine, if unusual, form of\r

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  • Jamie Ward

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