Neurophenomenology of induced and natural synaesthesia

Schwartzman, David J, Bor, Daniel, Rothen, Nicolas and Seth, Anil K (2019) Neurophenomenology of induced and natural synaesthesia. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1787). pp. 1-10. ISSN 0962-8436

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People with synaesthesia have additional perceptual experiences, which are automatically and consistently
triggered by specific inducing stimuli. Synaesthesia therefore offers a unique window into the neurocognitive
mechanisms underlying conscious perception. A long-standing question in synaesthesia research is whether it is possible to artificially induce non-synaesthetic individuals to have synaesthesia-like experiences. Although synaesthesia is widely considered a congenital condition, increasing evidence points to the potential of a variety of approaches to induce synaesthesia-like experiences, even in adulthood. Here, we summarise a range of methods for artificially-inducing synaesthesia-like experiences, comparing the resulting experiences to the key hallmarks of natural synaesthesia which include consistency, automaticity and a lack of ‘perceptual presence’. We conclude that a number of aspects of synaesthesia can be artificially induced in non-synaesthetes.
These data suggest the involvement of developmental and/or learning components to the acquisition of synaesthesia, and they extend previous reports of perceptual plasticity leading to dramatic changes in perceptual phenomenology in adults.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0311 Consciousness. Cognition > BF0495 Synaesthesia
Depositing User: Marianne Cole
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 12:16
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 16:00

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