- Overview of terminology and findings
- The prevalence of synesthesia: The Consistency Revolution
- The Genetics and Inheritance of Synesthesia
- Synesthesia in Infants and Very Young Children
- Synesthesia in School-Aged Children
- Synesthesia, Alphabet Books, and Fridge Magnets
- Numbers, Synesthesia, and Directionality
- Synesthesia, Sequences, and Space
- The “rules” of Synesthesia
- Colored Alphabets in Bilingual Synesthetes
- Synesthesia, Meaning, and Multilingual Speakers
- Synesthesia in Non-Alphabetic Languages
- Synesthetic Personification: The social world of graphemes
- Individual Differences in Synesthesia
- The Role of Attention in Synesthesia
- Revisiting the Perceptual Reality of Synesthetic Color
- Synesthesia and Binding
- Synesthesia, Eye-Movements, and Pupillometry
- Synesthesia, Incongruence, and Emotionality
- Synesthesia in the Nineteenth Century: Scientific origins
- Synesthesia in the Twentieth Century: Synesthesia’s renaissance
- Synesthesia in the Twenty-First Century: Synesthesia’s ascent
- Synesthesia in Space Versus the “Mind’s eye”: How to ask the right questions
- Synesthesia: A Psychosocial Approach
- Synesthesia and Functional Imaging
- Synesthesia, Hyper-Connectivity, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging
- Can Gray Matter Studies Inform Theories of (Grapheme-Color) Synesthesia?
- Synesthesia and Cortical Connectivity: A neurodevelopmental perspective
- The Timing of Neurophysiological Events in Synesthesia
- The Use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Investigation of Synesthesia
- Synesthesia, Mirror Neurons, and Mirror-Touch
- Synesthesia and Creativity
- Synesthesia in the Visual Arts
- Synesthesia in Literature
- Synesthesia and the Artistic Process
- Synesthesia and Memory
- Synesthesia and Savantism
- Synesthesia, Imagery, and Performance
- Weak Synesthesia in Perception and Language
- Audiovisual Cross-Modal Correspondences in the General Population
- Cross-Modality in Speech Processing
- Magnitudes, Metaphors, and Modalities: A Theory of Magnitude Revisited
- Sensory Substitution Devices: Creating “Artificial Synesthesias”
- Synesthesia, Cross-Modality, and Language Evolution
- Synesthesia: A First-Person Perspective
- Synesthesia and Consciousness
- What Exactly is a Sense?
- What Synesthesia isn’t
- From Molecules to Metaphor: Outlooks on Synesthesia Research
- Synesthesia Where Have We Been? Where are We Going?
- Author Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
Mechanisms of attention play a crucial role in filtering sensory inputs from the external world, allowing information to be prioritised for goal directed behaviour. To what extent might these same capacity-limited processes influence grapheme-colour synaesthesia, in which letters, numbers or words evoke concurrent experiences of colour? Asking synaesthetes themselves whether attention seems important in their experiences has provided a range of answers. On the one hand, for some synaesthetes, diverting attention can diminish the quality of their synaesthetic colours. On the other, there are suggestions that synaesthetic experiences can themselves alter the manner in which attention is allocated to sensory stimuli in the environment. Here, we review a range of empirical investigations that have examined the role of attention in grapheme-colour synaesthesia. A particular focus of these studies has been the extent to which an inducing stimulus - such as an achromatic letter or digit - must be attended or consciously perceived to trigger a concurrent synaesthetic experience. In most cases, limiting attention or masking inducers tends to reduce or eliminate behavioural evidence of synaesthetic experiences. We also discuss how synaesthesia might improve performance in visual search tasks through post-attentive processes such as grouping, or by facilitating decision-making processes.
Keywords: grapheme-colour synaesthesia, attention, synaesthetic congruency effect, awareness, visual search, projectors vs. associators, higher vs. lower synaesthetes, pop-out, synaesthetic Stroop effect
Anina N. Rich is Associate Professor, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University.
Jason B. Mattingley is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, The University of Queensland.
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