Using an Individualized Implicit Association Test to Measure Synesthesia Strength Open Access

Martinez, Margaret (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8336h194p?locale=en
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Abstract

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. The most common form is grapheme-color. This involves an individual experiencing or seeing a specific color consistently when seeing a letter. Currently, the standardized method of confirming synesthesia is the online synesthesia battery. However, the synesthesia battery tests for the consistency of synesthetic associations but does not give information about the strength of these associations. This study utilized an individualized version of an implicit association test (IAT) to measure strength of synesthetic associations. The study focused on grapheme-color synesthesia to reduce inconsistencies and because of grapheme-color synesthesia’s particularly high prevalence. An implicit association test uses difference in reaction times to measure how strongly a person associates items. 9 synesthetes and 8 controls were tested on the IAT where controls were matched to synesthetes for age and gender. One control is yet to be tested. The same IAT based on the synesthete’s associations was given to matched pairs. We found that congruency effect was significantly higher for synesthetes when compared to non-synesthetes. This indicates that an IAT may be an effective way of differentiating synesthetes and measuring strength of associations. Preliminary data also showed that synesthetic strength might not be correlated with strength of associations.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Background……………………………...…………….……………………………………………1

Methods……...…………………………………….……………………….…………………………………………………10

            Figure 1: Synesthesia Battery………………………………………………..………………….………...11

            Figure 2: Synesthesia Battery Results…………………………………………………….……………12

            Figure 3: Congruent and Incongruent Trials………………………………………….…………….14

Results……………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………..17

            Figure 4: Individual Results………………………………………………..............................................18

            Figure 5: Difference in Congruency Effect....................................................................................19

Figure 6: Difference in Accuracy.......................................................................................................20

            Figure 7: Scatterplot of Consistency vs. Association Strength……………………………….21

Discussion…………..………………………………………………………………………………………………………..22

References……………...…………………………………………………………………………………………………….30

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