Hearings Have Colors: A Mixed Design Study Of Synesthesia

Alma L., Çoksan S.

The 16th European Congress of Psychology, Moskva, Russia, 2 - 05 July 2019, pp.1225-1226

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Moskva
  • Country: Russia
  • Page Numbers: pp.1225-1226
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Synesthesia is a rare perceptual condition which a certain stimuli is experienced by at least more than one sensation (Beeli, Esslen and Jancke, 2008). Current study aims to understand the experience of synesthesia by the aid of individuals declaring to have synesthesia. In order to accomplish this aim, the research was planned to be twofolded. A mixed (QUAL-quan) design study was applied in order to understand how synesthesia is experienced by people having synesthesia. In orders words, while quantitative part is necessary to confirm the self-report synesthetes (quan), qualitatative design, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), addresses the main aim the research (QUAL). Firstly, self-report synesthetes was confirmed by collecting data from both synesthetes (N = 6) and non-synesthetes (N =22). Eagleman Synesthesia Test Battery (Eagleman et all., 2007) word and color lists was conducted to the both samples. Secondly, a semi-structured question list was applied to the synesthetes to give meaning to their experience by using the methodology IPA. Initially, results of quantitative study revealed that synesthetes stated consistently associated color with chosen words compared to nonsynesthetes. Furthermore, four main themes were emerged from IPA which are (1) not being aware of rareness of experience, (2) denying of the rareness of experience, (3) determinants of associated colors and (4) stability of associated colors. The study is unique for using both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand synesthesia including members of a family can be useful for better understanding of synesthesia. The study is significant for both a better understanding the experience of synesthesia and using the mixed-design for the synesthesia experience.