Abstract and Keywords
Synaesthesia: A psychosocial approach attempts to combine the knowledge gained by living together with synaesthetes with the results of psychological investigations. As a variant of human consciousness, the mechanisms of synaesthesia have not yet been completely understood. Does living with the phenomenon come with other differences as well (e.g. changes in personality)? Using standardized questionnaires we have investigated the personality and even sexuality of synaesthetes. We have added further background to our results by using qualitative interviews. Statistically, synaesthetes showed higher social orientation, higher scores of sensitivity and fewer psychosomatic complaints. Synaesthetic sensuality showed evidence of deeper trance experiences in sexuality, but without an overall increase in perceived enjoyment. Living with synaesthesia also means dealing with the experience of being different than others, as well as having to question its merit, and having to seek answers to the question of "who am I?" In this process of identity we have found higher narcissism scores in synaesthetes, and this may be understood as resulting from healthy personality mechanisms. We also discuss additional factors self-reported by our synaesthetes, and the possibility that synaesthesia may be a protective quality for health.
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