Colour fluctuations in grapheme-colour synaesthesia: the effect of clinical and non-clinical mood changes

Kay, Collette L, Carmichael, Duncan A, Ruffell, Henry E and Simner, Julia (2015) Colour fluctuations in grapheme-colour synaesthesia: the effect of clinical and non-clinical mood changes. British Journal of Psychology, 106 (3). pp. 487-504. ISSN 0007-1269

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Synaesthesia is a condition that gives rise to unusual secondary sensations (e.g., colours are perceived when listening to music). These unusual sensations tend to be reported as being stable throughout adulthood (e.g., Simner & Logie, 2007, Neurocase, 13, 358) and the consistency of these experiences over time is taken as the behavioural hallmark of genuineness. Our study looked at the influence of mood states on synaesthetic colours. In Experiment 1, we recruited grapheme-colour synaesthetes (who experience colours from letters/digits) and elicited their synaesthetic colours, as well as their mood and depression states, in two different testing sessions. In each session, participants completed the PANAS-X (Watson & Clark, 1999) and the BDI-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996, Manual for Beck Depression Inventory-II), and chose their synaesthetic colours for letters A-Z from an interactive colour palette. We found that negative mood significantly decreased the luminance of synaesthetic colours. In Experiment 2, we showed that synaesthetic colours were also less luminant for synaesthetes with anxiety disorder, versus those without. Additional evidence suggests that colour saturation, too, may inversely correlate with depressive symptoms. These results show that fluctuations in mood within both a normal and clinical range influence synaesthetic colours over time. This has implications for our understanding about the longitudinal stability of synaesthetic experiences, and of how mood may interact with the visual (imagery) systems. © 2014 The British Psychological Society.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Synaesthesia Research Group
Depositing User: Anna Hobbs
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 13:25
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 07:21

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