Can swimming evoke synesthesia? Apparently yes

Illustration for article titled Can swimming evoke synesthesia? Apparently yes

According to researchers at Frankfurt's Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, the sight of certain swimming strokes can evoke colors in synesthetic swimmers.


Here's an excerpt of their findings, which were published recently in the journal Cortex:

We report here the cases of two synesthetes, experienced swimmers, for whom each swimming style evokes another synesthetic color. Importantly, synesthesia is evoked also in the absence of direct sensory stimulation, i.e., the proprioceptive inputs during swimming. To evoke synesthetic colors, it is sufficient to evoke the concept of a given swimming style e.g., by showing a photograph of a swimming person. A color-consistency test and a Stroop-type test indicated that the synesthesia is genuine. These findings imply that synesthetic inducers do not operate at a sensory level but instead, at the semantic level at which concepts are evoked. Hence, the inducers are not defined by the modality-dependent sensations but by the "ideas" activated by these sensations.


[Via Mind Hacks. Illustration via Vintage Guitars.]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


i am just dissapointed that synesthesia is only evoked in swimmers who already have synesthesia. that hardly seems worthy of the headline.

actually i will go ahead and call "headline foul". once again io9 posts a very misleading headline that doesn't match the story at all. in this case the news isn't related to swimming evoking synesthesia at all, it's related to PICTURES of swimmers evoking synesthesia in other swimmers who already have synesthesia. Swimming doesn't trigger the synesthesia, images of swimmers trigger synesthesia. the NEWS is that the synesthesia is triggered by a cognitive process(an IDEA), NOT a 'modality-dependant sensation'(swimming).

curse you io9 headline writers and your insatiable immoral quest for clickthrus!