Jamie Ward – Synaesthete spotter

Went to a good seminar today all about synaesthesia, progress in understanding it is coming thick and fast.. mostly it seems due to the guy who gave the talk – Jamie Ward (at least that’s his version!)

here’s some of the cool bits:

  • patterns of inheritance suggest it is due to something on X chromosone.
  • yet can get female MZ twins where one has it & other doesn’t
  • colour-letter associations predict colour-word associations especially for 1st consonant and/or vowel (there are cases which demonstrate a dissociation.)
  • yet taste-word associations are phoneme related (phoneme co-occurance) and moreover often tied to similar sounding foods (Russia ‘tastes like’ mushrooms, friday like fried egg! )
  • can get stroop interference between percieved letter/number colour and it’s ink, or between tones and colours
  • music/tone-colour association is almost exclusively found in presence of word/phoneme-colour association (rarely on its own) and it is significantly linked to formal musical education – parallel between learning letters and learning musical notation leading to the associations
  • functional imaging shows some adjacency between taste-speech areas & colour-lexical areas
  • exact neural mechanisms not known but Simon Baron-Cohen theory of lack of neonatal pruning of connections between adjacent areas is probably wrong… more likely that associations are via cross-modal connections to semantic or higher perceptual areas

more.. http://www.syn.ucl.ac.uk

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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