Neurophenomenology of induced and natural synaesthesia.
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
The Royal Society
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Schwartzman, D. J., Bor, D., Rothen, N., & Seth, A. K. (2019). Neurophenomenology of induced and natural synaesthesia.. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374 (1787), 20190030. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0030
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 nonsynaesthetes. 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.
Wellcome Trust (210920/Z/18/Z)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0030
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/297126
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