Attention, automaticity, and awareness in synesthesia

Mattingley, Jason B. (2009) Attention, automaticity, and awareness in synesthesia. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1156 The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience 2009: 141-167. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04422.x

Author Mattingley, Jason B.
Title Attention, automaticity, and awareness in synesthesia
Journal name Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0077-8923
ISBN 978-1-57331-752-8
Publication date 2009-03-25
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04422.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 1156
Issue The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience 2009
Start page 141
End page 167
Total pages 8
Editor M. B. Miller
A. Kingstone
Place of publication United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc
Language eng
Subject C1
170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract The phenomenon of synesthesia has occupied the thoughts of philosophers and artists for decades. With the advent modern behavioral and brain imaging techniques, scientific research on synesthesia has also moved into the mainstream of thought. Here I provide a cognitive neuroscience perspective on the condition, with a particular emphasis on grapheme-color synesthesia, the most common variant, in which individuals report vivid and consistent experiences of color in association with numerals, letters, and words. Behavioral studies have revealed several fundamental properties of induced synesthetic colors. First, although they seem to arise automatically, without the need for voluntary control, they are strongly modulated by selective attention. Second, they attain salience relatively early in visual processing, and so can influence perceptual judgments and guide focal attention in cluttered, achromatic displays. Third, brain activity during synesthetic color experiences arises from within the ventral temporal lobe, including color-selective area V4. It has been speculated that grapheme-color synesthesia arises from disinhibited feedback or abnormal cross-wiring between brain regions involved in extracting visual form and color.
Keyword attention
blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD)
color perception
event-related potential (ERP)
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
Stroop effect
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
visual imagery
visual search
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 29 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 27 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 07 May 2009, 23:02:58 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute