Numeracy skills in child synaesthetes: evidence from grapheme-colour synaesthesia

Rinaldi, L J, Smees, R, Carmichael, D A and Simner, J (2020) Numeracy skills in child synaesthetes: evidence from grapheme-colour synaesthesia. Cortex. ISSN 0010-9452

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Grapheme-colour synaesthesia is a neurological trait that causes lifelong colour associations for letter and numbers. Synaesthesia studies have demonstrated differences between synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes in ways that extend beyond synaesthesia itself (e.g., differences in their cognition, personality, and creativity). This research has focused almost exclusively on adult synaesthetes, and little is known about the profiles of synaesthetic children. By and large, findings suggest advantages for synaesthetes (e.g., Chun & Hupé, 2016; Havlik et al., 2015; Rothen et al., 2012; Rouw & Scholte, 2016; Simner & Bain, 2018) although differences in mathematical ability are unclear: some research indicates advantages (e.g., Green & Goswami, 2008) whilst others suggest difficulties (e.g., Rich et al., 2005). In the current study, we tested numerical cognition in a large group of children with grapheme-colour synaesthesia. Synaesthetes with coloured numbers showed advantages over their peers in their sense of numerosity, but not in their curriculum mathematics ability. We discuss how our findings speak to models for synaesthesia, to methodologies for assessing number cognition (e.g., dot numerosity tasks), and to the wider educational practice of using coloured number-tools in schools (e.g., Numicon; Oxford University Press, 2018).

Item Type: Article
Keywords: synaesthesia, children, mathematics, dot numerosity, dual-coding
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 08:55
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2021 02:00

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