Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A longitudinal study of grapheme-color synesthesia in childhood

Date:
November 12, 2013
Source:
Frontiers
Summary:
In the first long-term study on grapheme-color synesthesia, researchers followed 80 children, including 8 synesthetes, to determine when and how associations between graphemes and colors develop.

Colored letters.
Credit: AntonioBattista Am2 / Fotolia

What colour is H? Is 4 brighter than 9? For most people these questions might seem baffling, but not for people with grapheme-color synesthesia.

In the first long-term childhood study on grapheme-color synesthesia, researchers followed 80 children to determine when and how associations between graphemes and colors develop. The latest results are published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Grapheme-color synesthesia is a harmless, alternative form of perception caused by subtle differences in the brain -- possibly, stronger connections between centers for language and color -- that give letters and numbers their phantom colors. It is passed down from parent to child in around 1 to 2% of the population.

In the present study, a group of synesthete children was tested three times between 6 and 10 years old. Each child was presented with 36 graphemes -- the letters A to Z and digits 0 to 9 -- and asked to choose the 'best' of 13 colors for each.

Children with grapheme-color synesthesia had already developed strong associations for around 30% of graphemes at 6 years old. At 7 years old, the same children had associations for around 50% of graphemes, and this increased to 70% of graphemes at 10 years old. The synesthete children were consistent in their choices over this 4-year period. Three children who were synesthetes at ages 6 to 7 were no longer so at 10 years old, indicating that the condition spontaneously disappears in some children as they grow older.

"This repeated testing of child synesthetes in real time allowed us to see for the first time that synesthetic colours emerge slowly during childhood, building up an incremental inventory of colorful letters and numbers," says Dr. Simner, a cognitive neuropsychologist who specializes in synesthesia, from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

The researchers' next challenge is to determine how changes in the intensity of synesthesia -- as strengthening or loss with increasing age -- can be explained from changes in the organization of the brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Frontiers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia Simner and Angela E. Bain. A longitudinal study of grapheme-colour synaesthesia in childhood: 6/7 years to 10/11 years. Frontiers in Psychology, 2013 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00603

Cite This Page:

Frontiers. "A longitudinal study of grapheme-color synesthesia in childhood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112105028.htm>.
Frontiers. (2013, November 12). A longitudinal study of grapheme-color synesthesia in childhood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112105028.htm
Frontiers. "A longitudinal study of grapheme-color synesthesia in childhood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112105028.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins