The aesthetic appeal of auditory-visual synaesthetic perceptions in people without synaesthesia

Ward, Jamie, Moore, Samantha, Thompson-Lake, Daisy, Salih, Shireen and Beck, Brianna (2008) The aesthetic appeal of auditory-visual synaesthetic perceptions in people without synaesthesia. Perception, 37 (8). pp. 1285-1296. ISSN 0301-0066

PDF - Published Version
Download (183kB) | Preview


The term 'visual music' refers to works of art in which both hearing and vision are directly or indirectly stimulated. Our ability to create, perceive, and appreciate visual music is hypothesised to rely on the same multisensory processes that support auditory-visual (AV) integration in other contexts. Whilst these mechanisms have been extensively studied, there has been little research on how these processes affect aesthetic judgments (of liking or preference). Studies of synaesthesia in which sound evokes vision and studies of cross-modal biases in non-synaesthetes have revealed non-arbitrary mappings between visual and auditory properties (eg high-pitch sounds being smaller and brighter). In three experiments, we presented members of the general population with animated AV clips derived from synaesthetic experiences and contrasted them with a number of control conditions. The control conditions consisted of the same clips rotated or with the colour changed, random AV pairings, or animated clips generated by non-synaesthetes. Synaesthetic AV animations were generally preferred over the control conditions. The results suggest that non-arbitrary AV mappings, present in the experiences of synaesthetes, can be readily appreciated by others and may underpin our tendency to engage with certain forms of art.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Jamie Ward
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:47
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 01:08

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update