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A persistent memory advantage is specific to grapheme-colour synaesthesia

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Lunke Katrin, Meier Beat,
Project Specificity and longevity of memory advantages in synaesthesia
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports
Volume (Issue) 10(1)
Page(s) 3484 - 3484
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-60388-6

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


For people with synaesthesia ordinary stimuli such as digits or letters induce concurrent experiences such as colours. Synaesthesia is associated with a memory advantage and the aim of this study was to investigate whether this advantage persists across time. We tested recognition memory of four different types of synaesthesia with different inducer-concurrent pairings across two sessions with a one-year retention interval. In the study phase, participants learned three kinds of stimuli (i.e., related to their inducer, related to their concurrent, or synaesthesia-unrelated): music, words and colours. Recognition memory was tested after one hour and after one year. After one hour, grapheme-colour and grapheme-colour-and-sound-colour synaesthetes showed synaesthesia-specific advantages. After one year, only grapheme-colour synaesthetes still showed an advantage. The results imply that a benefit through enhanced colour-processing is particularly strong and that synaesthesia can lead to a long-lasting memory benefit.