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THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLORED HEARING - A PET ACTIVATION STUDY OF COLOR-WORD SYNAESTHESIA

PAULESU, E; HARRISON, J; BARONCOHEN, S; WATSON, JDG; GOLDSTEIN, L; HEATHER, J; ... FRITH, CD; + view all (1995) THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLORED HEARING - A PET ACTIVATION STUDY OF COLOR-WORD SYNAESTHESIA. BRAIN , 118 661 - 676.

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Abstract

In a small proportion of the normal population, stimulation in one modality can lead to perceptual experience in another a phenomenon known as synaesthesia. In the most common form of synaesthesia, hearing a word can result in the experience of colour We have used the technique of PET which detects brain activity as changes of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), to study the physiology of colour-word synaesthesia in a group of sir synaesthete women. During rCBF measurements synaesthetes and sir controls were blindfolded and were presented with spoken words or pure tones. Auditory word, but not tone, stimulation triggered synaesthesia in synaesthetes. In both groups word stimulation compared with tone stimulation activated the classical language areas of the perisylvian regions. In synaesthetes, a number of additional visual associative areas, including the posterior inferior temporal cortex and the parieto-occipital junctions, were activated The former has been implicated in the integration of colour with shape and in verbal tasks which require attention to visual features of objects to which words refer. Synaesthetes also showed activations in the right prefrontal cortex, insula and superior temporal gyrus. By contrast, no significant activity was detected in relatively lower visual areas, including areas V1, V2 and V4. These results suggest that colour-word synaesthesia may result from the activity of brain areas concerned with language and visual feature integration. In the case of colour-word synaesthesia, conscious visual experience appears to occur without activation of the primary visual cortex.

Type:Article
Title:THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLORED HEARING - A PET ACTIVATION STUDY OF COLOR-WORD SYNAESTHESIA
Keywords:CONSCIOUS PERCEPTION, VISUAL PHYSIOLOGY, MULTIMODAL INTEGRATION, POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY, INFERIOR TEMPORAL CORTEX, MONKEY VISUAL-CORTEX, MACAQUE MONKEY, RHESUS-MONKEY, FUNCTIONAL SPECIALIZATION, CENTRAL ACHROMATOPSIA, AUTOMATED ALGORITHM, RETRACTABLE SEPTA, HUMAN BRAIN
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Neurology

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