Personality predicts the vibrancy of colour imagery: The case of synaesthesia

Hossain, Shyla R, Simner, Julia and Ipser, Alberta (2017) Personality predicts the vibrancy of colour imagery: The case of synaesthesia. Cortex. ISSN 0010-9452

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Abstract

In this study we show that personality traits predict the physical qualities of mentally generated colours, using the case of synaesthesia. Developmental grapheme-colour synaesthetes have the automatic lifelong association of colours paired to letters or digits. Although these colours are internal mental constructs, they can be measured along physical dimensions such as saturation and luminance. The personality of synaesthetes can also be quantified using self-report questionnaires relating, for example, to the five major traits of Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Openness to experience. In this paper, we bring together both types of quality by examining whether the personality of individual synaesthetes predicts their synaesthetic colours. Twenty grapheme-colour synaesthetes were tested with the Big Five Inventory (BFI) personality questionnaire. Their synaesthesia was also tested in terms of consistency and average colour saturation and luminance. Two major results were found: although personality did not influence the overall robustness (i.e., consistency) of synaesthesia, it predicted the nature of synaesthetes’ colours: the trait of Openness was positively correlated with the saturation of synaesthetic colours. Our study provides evidence that personality and internal perception are intertwined, and suggests future avenues of research for investigating the associations between the two.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Grapheme-colour synaesthesia/synesthesia; Personality; Chroma; Consistency; Imagery
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
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Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 13:26
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2017 13:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69953

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