University of Waterloo

When 5 + 2 = yellow:  the colourful world of the synaesthetic mind

Michael Dixon, Synaesthesia

Jan 26, 2023, 11:30 am, EC4-2101A

Summary: Synaesthesia is a rare condition in which ordinary stimuli elicit extraordinary perceptions.  For grapheme colour synaesthetes, ordinary black letters and numbers are perceived in colour with each letter and digit bearing their own separate hue.  I will use a variety of cognitive neuroscience paradigms that show that these percepts are 1) real as opposed to imagined 2) are likely due to back projections in the brain from areas that process the meaning of graphemes (e.g., 7 is lucky, bigger than 6 etc), to areas of the brain V4/V8 that process colour.