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Do synaesthetic colours act as unique features in visual search?

Edquist, Jessica; Rich, Anina N; Brinkman, Cobie; Mattingley, Jason B

Description

For individuals with grapheme-colour synaesthesia, letters, numbers and words elicit vivid and highly consistent colour experiences. A critical question in determining the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon is whether synaesthetic colours arise early in visual processing, prior to the allocation of focused attention, or at some later stage following explicit recognition of the inducing form. If the synaesthetic colour elicited by an achromatic target emerges early in visual processing, then...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorEdquist, Jessica
dc.contributor.authorRich, Anina N
dc.contributor.authorBrinkman, Cobie
dc.contributor.authorMattingley, Jason B
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-07T22:25:38Z
dc.identifier.issn0010-9452
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/21388
dc.description.abstractFor individuals with grapheme-colour synaesthesia, letters, numbers and words elicit vivid and highly consistent colour experiences. A critical question in determining the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon is whether synaesthetic colours arise early in visual processing, prior to the allocation of focused attention, or at some later stage following explicit recognition of the inducing form. If the synaesthetic colour elicited by an achromatic target emerges early in visual processing, then the target should be relatively easy to find in an array of achromatic distractor items, provided the target and distractors elicit different synaesthetic colours. Here we present data from 14 grapheme-colour synaesthetes and 14 matched non-synaesthetic controls, each of whom performed a visual search task in which a target digit was distinguished from surrounding distractors either by its unique synaesthetic colour or by its unique display colour. Participants searched displays of 8, 16 or 24 items for a specific target. In the chromatic condition, target and distractor digits were presented in different colours (e.g., a yellow '2' amongst blue '5's). In the achromatic condition, all digits in the display were black, but targets elicited a different synaesthetic colour from that induced by the distractors. Both synaesthetes and controls showed the expected efficient (pop-out) search slopes when the target was defined by a unique display colour. In contrast, search slopes for both groups were equally inefficient when the target and distractors were achromatic, despite eliciting distinct colours for the synaesthetes under normal viewing conditions. These results indicate that, at least for the majority of individuals, synaesthetic colours do not arise early enough in visual processing to guide or attract focal attention. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that graphemic inducers must be selectively attended to elicit their synaesthetic colours.
dc.publisherMasson SpA
dc.sourceCortex
dc.subjectKeywords: adult; article; clinical article; cognition; color discrimination; color vision; controlled study; dysesthesia; female; human; male; selective attention; synesthesia; task performance; Adolescent; Adult; Association; Attention; Automatism; Awareness; Chil Pop-out; Selective attention; Serial search; Subjective report; Synaesthesia; Visual search
dc.titleDo synaesthetic colours act as unique features in visual search?
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume42
dc.date.issued2006
local.identifier.absfor170112 - Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
local.identifier.absfor170101 - Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9312950xPUB16
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationEdquist, Jessica, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationRich, Anina N, University of Melbourne
local.contributor.affiliationBrinkman, Cobie, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMattingley, Jason B, University of Melbourne
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage222
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage231
local.identifier.doi10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70347-2
dc.date.updated2015-12-07T09:39:16Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-33646165708
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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