Is synaesthesia more prevalent in autism spectrum conditions? Only where there is prodigious talent

Hughes, James E A, Simner, Julia, Baron-Cohen, Simon, Treffert, Darold A and Ward, Jamie (2017) Is synaesthesia more prevalent in autism spectrum conditions? Only where there is prodigious talent. Multisensory Research, 30 (3-5). pp. 391-408. ISSN 2213-4794

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (359kB)

Abstract

Savant syndrome is a condition where prodigious talent co-occurs with developmental difficulties such as autism spectrum conditions (ASC). To better understand savant skills, we previously proposed a link with synaesthesia: that savant syndrome may arise in ASC individuals who also happen to have synaesthesia. A second, unrelated claim is that people with autism may have higher rates of synaesthesia. Here we ask whether synaesthesia is indeed found more often in autism per se, or only in cases where autism co-occurs with savant skills. People with autism in previous studies when tested for synaesthesia were not differentiated into those with and without savant abilities. Here we tested three groups: people with autism who also have savant skills (n = 40), people with autism without savant skills (n = 34), and controls without autism (n = 29). We used a validated test to diagnose grapheme–colour synaesthesia. Results show a significantly higher prevalence of synaesthesia in people with ASC, but only those who also have savant skills. This suggests that synaesthesia in autism is linked to those with savant abilities rather than autism per se. We discuss the role of synaesthesia in the development of prodigious talent.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 11:40
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 16:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68077

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update