Beyond visual imagery: How modality-specific is enhanced mental imagery in synesthesia?

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Spiller, Mary Jane ; Jonas, Clare N. ; Simner, Julia ; Jansari, Ashok (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: genetic structures

Synesthesia based in visual modalities has been associated with reports of vivid visual\ud imagery. We extend this finding to consider whether other forms of synesthesia are also\ud associated with enhanced imagery, and whether this enhancement reflects the modality of\ud synesthesia. We used self‐report imagery measures across multiple sensory modalities,\ud comparing synesthetes’ responses (with a variety of forms of synesthesia) to those of nonsynesthete\ud matched controls. Synesthetes reported higher levels of visual, auditory,\ud gustatory, olfactory and tactile imagery and a greater level of imagery use. Furthermore, their\ud reported enhanced imagery is restricted to the modalities involved in the individual’s\ud synesthesia. There was also a relationship between the number of forms of synesthesia an\ud individual has, and the reported vividness of their imagery, highlighting the need for future\ud research to consider the impact of multiple forms of synesthesia. We also recommend the\ud use of behavioral measures to validate these self‐report findings.
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