Juan Lupiáñez or Alicia Callejas
Phone: +34 958 240663 or +34 958 240667
Departamento de Psicología Experimental
Facultad de Psicología
Universidad de Granada
Campus Universitario de Cartuja s/n
Synesthesia is a rare condition that is characterized by the conscious subjective perception of sensations that belong to one sensory modality when another sensory modality is stimulated.
Some famous artists were synaesthetes. Baudelaire, Rimsky-Korsakov and Nabokov experienced a relative mix of sensations arriving from different senses.
There are reports about colored sounds, smelling or flavorful forms, etc. Nevertheless synesthesia might occur within a sensory modality. This is the case of letters, numbers or words eliciting a subjective experience of color. In fact, this might be the most common type of synesthesia.
The study of synesthesia is very interesting from a psychological as well as a neuro-scientific perspective. This is so not only because its own appeal but also due to the fact that it serves as a means to study perception, consciousness and the neural bases of these processes.
A side effect of synesthesia is the presence of negative emotional reactions when stimuli (i.e. a letter or a number) are presented in a color different from the one subjectively experienced for such stimulus. Hence, this phenomenon is also interesting when studying emotions.
Last, as pointed out by professor Ramachandran, synesthesia could be a very useful tool to study creativity and metaphors.
In the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of Granada we are studying synesthesia. We are interested in the emotional reactions associated to the perception of incongruently colored stimulus. This emotional reaction can be objectively measured using behavioral techniques such as Reaction Time data or pschophysiological tools such as Skin Conductance Response.