“Becoming the color”: synesthetic gesture in a case study of multiple forms of synesthesia

Oblak, Aleš, Randall, Hanna and Schwartzman, David (2021) “Becoming the color”: synesthetic gesture in a case study of multiple forms of synesthesia. Phainomena, 30. pp. 35-68. ISSN 1318-3362

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Phenomenological investigations of participants with grapheme-color synesthesia—a condition wherein an inducer consistently and automatically triggers an additional concurrent perceptual experience—have revealed an apparent paradox. Namely, they describe the automaticity of their synesthetic experiences as being both willed and automatic. Here, we apply in-depth interviews and signal-contingent experience sampling to investigate the lived experience of a single case (HR) of synesthesia to address this paradox. Our results suggest that for HR an inducer elicits a non-visual, spatially-localized, immediate, and intuitive knowledge about the concurrent. Critically, HR reports that in order to experience the concurrent visually, she must perform a specific mental gesture. We suggest that reporting on the former yields descriptions of concurrent experience as being automatic, and reporting on the latter yields descriptions of concurrent experience as being willful. Our findings demonstrate the need for detailed phenomenological investigations of the experience of synesthesia, in order to develop more accurate descriptions of this experience.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2022 10:06
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 13:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103624

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