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Full Access Multisensory interactions and synesthesia

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Multisensory interactions and synesthesia

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Although the behavioural and neurological processes underpinning the condition of synaesthesia have been elucidated in recent years, there have been relatively fewer attempts to investigate the extent to which synaesthesia is mediated by multisensory processes common to all. Neural models propose connectivity patterns that may be specific to the condition, yet some recent behavioural evidence suggests that synaesthetic interactions may be scaffolded by general perceptual mechanisms. Here I will discuss some of our recent evidence supporting common genetic links between different types of synaesthesia which suggests that different synaesthetic experiences may be based on the same ontogeny. Moreover, evidence for differences in early perceptual processing between synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes suggests that synaesthesia is not as discrete a condition as previously thought. Our findings further suggest that synaesthesia is induced by multisensory rather than unisensory inputs, and that the synaesthetic experience may be penetrated by ongoing veridical perceptual processes. Other evidence for shared synaesthetic-like associations across the senses is consistent with the idea that synaesthesia is not a discrete condition, but may depend on interactions across the senses common to all, the extent to which is not yet fully understood.

Affiliations: 1: School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Although the behavioural and neurological processes underpinning the condition of synaesthesia have been elucidated in recent years, there have been relatively fewer attempts to investigate the extent to which synaesthesia is mediated by multisensory processes common to all. Neural models propose connectivity patterns that may be specific to the condition, yet some recent behavioural evidence suggests that synaesthetic interactions may be scaffolded by general perceptual mechanisms. Here I will discuss some of our recent evidence supporting common genetic links between different types of synaesthesia which suggests that different synaesthetic experiences may be based on the same ontogeny. Moreover, evidence for differences in early perceptual processing between synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes suggests that synaesthesia is not as discrete a condition as previously thought. Our findings further suggest that synaesthesia is induced by multisensory rather than unisensory inputs, and that the synaesthetic experience may be penetrated by ongoing veridical perceptual processes. Other evidence for shared synaesthetic-like associations across the senses is consistent with the idea that synaesthesia is not a discrete condition, but may depend on interactions across the senses common to all, the extent to which is not yet fully understood.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0024
2013-05-16
2016-12-06

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