A distinct electrophysiological signature for synaesthesia that is independent of individual differences in sensory sensitivity

Ward, Jamie, Baykova, Reny, Dyson, Ben, Chew, Jowinn, Schreiter, Marie Luise, Beste, Christian and Sherman, Maxine (2021) A distinct electrophysiological signature for synaesthesia that is independent of individual differences in sensory sensitivity. Cortex. ISSN 0010-9452

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Abstract

People with synaesthesia have been reported to show atypical electrophysiological responses to certain simple sensory stimuli, even if these stimuli are not inducers of synaesthesia. However, it is unclear whether this constitutes a neural marker that is relatively specific to synaesthesia or whether it reflects some other trait that co-occurs with synaesthesia, but is not specific to it. One candidate is atypical sensory sensitivity (e.g. strong aversion to certain lights and sounds, ‘sensory overload’) which is a feature of both synaesthesia and autism and that varies greatly in the neurotypical population. Using visual evoked-potentials (to stimuli varying in spatial frequency) and auditory-evoked potentials (to stimuli varying in auditory frequency), we found that synaesthetes had a modulated visual evoked-potential around P1/N1 (emanating from fusiform cortex), a greater auditory N1, as well as differences in the time-frequency domain (increased alpha and beta induced power for visual stimuli). This was distinct from that found in non-synaesthetes. By contrast, no significant electrophysiological differences were found that were linked to neurotypical variation in sensory sensitivity.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 09:05
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2021 12:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/97548

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