Synesthesia is a fairly common condition in which individuals experience atypical responses (such as color experiences) in association with certain types of stimuli (such as non-colored letters). Although synesthesia has been described for centuries, only very recently has there been an explosive growth of systematic scientific examinations of this condition. In this article, we review and critically evaluate current methods for both assessing synesthesia and examining its psychological basis, including the “test-retest” procedure, online battery assessments, and behavioral experiments. We highlight the limitations of these methods for understanding the nature of this complex condition and propose potential solutions to address some of these limitations. We also provide a set of markers that aid in distinguishing synesthesia from other closely related psychological phenomena.
Keywords: synesthesia, sensation, perception, imagery, memory
Citation: Mylopoulos MI and Ro T (2013) Synesthesia: a colorful word with a touching sound? Front. Psychol. 4:763. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00763
Received: 31 May 2013; Accepted: 29 September 2013;
Published online: 22 October 2013.
Edited by:Roi C. Kadosh, University of Oxford, UK
Copyright © 2013 Mylopoulos and Ro. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Myrto I. Mylopoulos, Philosophy Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 160 Convent Ave., New York, NY 10031, USA e-mail: email@example.com;
Tony Ro, Department of Psychology, NAC 7/120, The City College and Graduate Center, Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, City University of New York, 160 Convent Ave., New York, NY 10031, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org