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Full Access Enhanced memory ability: Insights from synaesthesia

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Enhanced memory ability: Insights from synaesthesia

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People with synaesthesia show an enhanced memory relative to demographically matched controls. The most obvious explanation for this is that the ‘extra’ perceptual experiences lead to richer encoding and retrieval opportunities of material that induces synaesthesia (typically verbal material). Although there is some evidence for this, it is unlikely to be the whole explanation. For instance, not all material that triggers synaesthesia is better remembered (e.g., digit span) and some material that does not trigger synaesthesia is better remembered. In fact, they tend to have better visual memory than verbal memory. We suggest that enhanced memory in synaesthesia is linked to wider changes in cognitive systems at the interface of perception and memory and link this to recent findings in the neuroscience of memory.

Affiliations: 1: 1School of Psychology and Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, UK; 2: 2Department of Psychology and Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory, University of Bern, CH

People with synaesthesia show an enhanced memory relative to demographically matched controls. The most obvious explanation for this is that the ‘extra’ perceptual experiences lead to richer encoding and retrieval opportunities of material that induces synaesthesia (typically verbal material). Although there is some evidence for this, it is unlikely to be the whole explanation. For instance, not all material that triggers synaesthesia is better remembered (e.g., digit span) and some material that does not trigger synaesthesia is better remembered. In fact, they tend to have better visual memory than verbal memory. We suggest that enhanced memory in synaesthesia is linked to wider changes in cognitive systems at the interface of perception and memory and link this to recent findings in the neuroscience of memory.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x648468
2012-01-01
2016-12-07

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