Synesthesia for Color Is Linked to Improved Color Perception but Reduced Motion Perception

Michael J. Banissy, Victoria Tester, Neil G. Muggleton, Agnieszka B. Janik, Aimee Davenport, Anna Franklin, Vincent Walsh, Jamie Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Synesthesia is a rare condition in which one property of a stimulus (e.g., shape) triggers a secondary percept (e.g., color) not typically associated with the first. Work on synesthesia has predominantly focused on confirming the authenticity of synesthetic experience, but much less research has been conducted to examine the extent to which synesthesia is linked to broader perceptual differences. In the research reported here, we examined whether synesthesia is associated with differences in color and motion processing by comparing these abilities in synesthetes who experience color as their evoked sensation with nonsynesthetic participants. We show that synesthesia for color is linked to facilitated color sensitivity but decreased motion sensitivity. These findings are discussed in relation to the neurocognitive mechanisms of synesthesia and interactions between color and motion processing in typical adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2390-2397
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • color perception
  • motion perception
  • perception


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