Neural correlates of imagined and synaesthetic colours

Rich, AN, Williams, MA, Puce, A, Syngeniotis, A, Howard, MA, McGlone, F and Mattingley, JB (2006) Neural correlates of imagined and synaesthetic colours. Neuropsychologia, 44 14: 2918-2925. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.06.024

Author Rich, AN
Williams, MA
Puce, A
Syngeniotis, A
Howard, MA
McGlone, F
Mattingley, JB
Title Neural correlates of imagined and synaesthetic colours
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2006-01-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.06.024
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 44
Issue 14
Start page 2918
End page 2925
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd
Language eng
Abstract The experience of colour is a core element of human vision. Colours provide important symbolic and contextual information not conveyed by form alone. Moreover, the experience of colour can arise without external stimulation. For many people, visual memories are rich with colour imagery. In the unusual phenomenon of grapheme-colour synaesthesia, achromatic forms such as letters, words and numbers elicit vivid experiences of colour. Few studies, however, have examined the neural correlates of such internally generated colour experiences. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare patterns of cortical activity for the perception of external coloured stimuli and internally generated colours in a group of grapheme-colour synaesthetes and matched non-synaesthetic controls. In a voluntary colour imagery task, both synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes made colour judgements on objects presented as grey scale photographs. In a synaesthetic colour task, we presented letters that elicited synaesthetic colours, and asked participants to perform a localisation task. We assessed the neural activity underpinning these two different forms of colour experience that occur in the absence of chromatic sensory input. In both synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes, voluntary colour imagery activated the colour-selective area, V4, in the right hemisphere. In contrast, the synaesthetic colour task resulted in unique activity for synaesthetes in the left medial lingual gyrus, an area previously implicated in tasks involving colour knowledge. Our data suggest that internally generated colour experiences recruit brain regions specialised for colour perception, with striking differences between voluntary colour imagery and synaesthetically induced colours. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All fights reserved.
Keyword Behavioral Sciences
Psychology, Experimental
colour imagery
visual imagery
occipitotemporal cortex
Visual Mental-imagery
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 69 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 73 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 18 Oct 2007, 01:22:31 EST