People taught synaesthesia learn to read in colour

时间:2019-03-05 02:14:12166网络整理admin

By Clare Wilson BRAIN training for synaesthesia – where you mix up sensory information – may be just around the corner. People have been taught to experience a form of synaesthesia in which letters appear as certain colours, in their everyday life. By the end of the nine-week course, most of the volunteers were seeing text in the real world take on particular hues, on road signs, for example. “The colour immediately pops into my head,” said one participant. “By the end of the training, people were seeing text on road signs take on particular colours” Synaesthesia is thought to result from people’s brains developing in such a way that their sensory signals get mixed up. So “Tuesday” might evoke the colour pink, for example, or the word “tree” might taste like popcorn. Early life experiences may play a role – some synaesthetes report that their letter-colour pairings match the colours of a childhood alphabet or fridge magnets. But is it something you can learn as an adult? Two years ago researchers induced some aspects of the condition by getting people to read books where some of the letters appeared in certain colours. This improved their scores on tests but didn’t translate out of the lab. What if people underwent more intense training? Daniel Bor at the University of Sussex, UK, gave people daily half-hour training sessions to teach them 13 letter-colour associations, using progressively harder tasks. The volunteers also practised with specially coloured e-books. As well as passing the lab tests, 9 of the 14 volunteers reported seeing coloured letters to varying extents when they read ordinary black text. Many saw effects by week five, and some had synaesthetic experiences daily. Their prowess faded once the training stopped (Scientific Reports, The training had an unexpected benefit too. The volunteers gained 12 points in IQ tests by the end of training. However, this may be a general benefit of intensive training with memory-related tasks, says Bor, who adds that he may in future put the training tools online. This article appeared in print under the headline “Mixing senses: synaesthesia taught to adults” More on these topics: