Development of synesthesia across the adult lifespan

Meier, Beat (3 October 2015). Development of synesthesia across the adult lifespan (Unpublished). In: 11th Annual Meeting of the American Synesthesia Association. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. 02.-04.10.2015.

In synesthesia, stimuli such as sounds, words or letters trigger experiences of colors, shapes or tastes. The consistency of these experiences is a hallmark of this condition. In a previous study we investigated for the first time whether there are age-related changes in the consistency of synesthetic experiences. Using a cross-sectional approach, we tested a sample of more than 400 grapheme-color synesthetes who have color experiences when they see letters and/or digits with a well-established test of consistency. Our results showed a decline in the number of consistent grapheme-color associations across the adult lifespan. We also assessed age-related changes in the breadth of the color spectrum. The results showed that the appearance of primary colors (i.e., red, blue, and green) was mainly age-invariant. However, there was a decline in the occurrence of lurid colors while brown and achromatic tones occurred more often as concurrents in older age. These shifts in the color spectrum suggest that synesthesia does not simply fade, but rather undergoes more comprehensive changes. These changes may be the result of a combination of both age-related perceptual and memory processing shifts. I will present the results of a second wave of data acquisition after a one-year interval to investigate the longitudinal age-related trajectory of the consistency of synesthetic experiences.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology

UniBE Contributor:

Meier, Beat


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




Beat Meier

Date Deposited:

25 Nov 2015 08:39

Last Modified:

25 Nov 2015 08:39


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