Montag, 02. Oktober 2023
13:30 - 14:30
B18.005, Brig Campus

Grapheme-color synesthesia is a rare neurological phenomenon in which people experience letters of the alphabet as having a highly-specific color (for example, "The letter S is burgundy red"). In this talk, I argue that synesthetic associations are conscious experiences of the brain's underlying representations of written language. I describe some "rules" that explain why certain letters get certain colors. I use data collected from synesthetes in more than a dozen different countries to show how these rules differ (or not) across the world's languages, reflecting unique (or shared) features of each language and writing system. I use a multinomial mixture framework to create a model that can predict synesthetes' grapheme-color associations in a holdout language. Finally, I propose some future directions: exploring the potential of synesthesia as a tool for science (to study the architecture of the reading system) and society (to improve second language acquisition). 

This talk is part of the series Invited Speakers - Faculty of Psychology. It will take place in Brig, on the groundfloor of UniDistance Suisse's headquarters. You may also join online. The link for participation in the event is the following:


Nicholas Root is currently a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam. He and his wife will be in Brig for dinner on Saturday, 30 Sep 2023. Everyone is welcome to join us.


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