Grapheme-color synaesthesia is associated with a distinct cognitive style

Meier, Beat; Rothen, Nicolas (2013). Grapheme-color synaesthesia is associated with a distinct cognitive style. Frontiers in psychology, 4(632), p. 632. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00632

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In this study we investigated whether synaesthesia is associated with a particular cognitive style. Cognitive style refers to preferred modes of information processing, such as a verbal style or a visual style. We reasoned that related to the enriched world of experiences created by synaesthesia, its association with enhanced verbal and visual memory, higher imagery and creativity, synaesthetes might show enhanced preference for a verbal as well as for a visual cognitive style compared to non-synaesthetes. In Study 1 we tested a large convenience sample of 1046 participants, who classified themselves as grapheme-color, sound-color, lexical-gustatory, sequence-space, or as non-synaesthetes. To assess cognitive style, we used the revised verbalizer-visualizer questionnaire (VVQ), which involves three independent cognitive style dimensions (verbal style, visual-spatial style, and vivid imagery style). The most important result was that those who reported grapheme-color synaesthesia showed higher ratings on the verbal and vivid imagery style dimensions, but not on the visual-spatial style dimension. In Study 2 we replicated this finding in a laboratory study involving 24 grapheme-color synaesthetes with objectively confirmed synaesthesia and a closely matched control group. Our results indicate that grapheme-color synaesthetes prefer both a verbal and a specific visual cognitive style. We suggest that this enhanced preference, probably together with the greater ease to switch between a verbal and a vivid visual imagery style, may be related to cognitive advantages associated with grapheme color synaesthesia such as enhanced memory performance and creativity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Meier, Beat


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Frontiers Research Foundation




Anna Maria Ruprecht Künzli

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2014 13:54

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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