Synesthesia Research at CCN

The Synesthesia Project is an ongoing collaboration which began in the fall of 2012 between researchers from a number of Nordic Universities investigating synesthesia. In the spring of 2017 the project extended collaborations to East Asia.

Synesthesia is derived from the ancient Greek words syn (joint/together) and aisthesis (sensation). It referees to a phenomenon were a sensation has an extra embedded sense quality (e.g. that weekdays have a certain colour). Synesthesia is a very broad phenomenon involving many different types of sensations ranging from a sense of colour for the different days of the week to spatial sensations affiliated with different numbers. For people without synesthesia this may be difficult to imagine, and it can be surprising to hear how people with synesthesia experience the world (see for example the interviews in Crossed Lines).

It is not uncommon that people with synesthesia discover that their synesthetic experience fairly late in their development. This is probably due to the fact that we rarely focus on how the world is experienced; it is assumed that other people naturally experience the world in the similar fashion as we experience it ourselves. Only when someone at say, the dinner table insists that Wednesday is blue – which of course is yellow – we discover that other people may experience the world differently from ourselves.

The aim of the current project is to broadly investigate synesthesia and how it affects other cognitive processes like memory, cognitive control, and attention.