PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS ASSOCIATED WITH REPORTED SYNESTHESIA.
AuthorSHINDELL, STEVE MARK.
Committee ChairDomino, George
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSynesthesia, or the ability to sense experiences in one modality and experience consistent imagery in another modality, has been systematically studied for over 100 years without yielding much information regarding the synesthete, the person reporting such a phenomenon. A group of 503 college students were sampled to determine the prevalence of reported synesthesia. Twenty-eight reported synesthetes were then matched by age, sex, major, and hand preference to people reporting never experiencing synesthesia. Both groups were then administered the Concept Mastery Test (Terman, 1947, 1950); the Betts Questionnaire Upon Mental Imagery--Sheehan Revision (Betts, 1909; Sheehand, 1967); the Individual Differences Questionnaire (Paivio, 1971); and the Adjective Check List (Gough, 1960). The results of the first study indicate that 7% of the sample of 503 volunteer college students in an introductory psychology course report consistent and spontaneous synesthetic experiences. Another 18% report similar experiences that either lack spontaneity and/or consistency or were influenced by a hallucinogenic drug. These results are consistent with research done on various populations by Calkins (1895), Rose (1909), and Bleuler and Lehmann (1881), but the frequencies are much lower and do not show the same gender differences as Marks' (1975) reporting of Uhlich's (1957) data showing 14% of male and 31% of females having synesthetic abilities. These differences may be due to different sampling techniques, differences in cultures, or differences in the definition of synesthesia. The results of the first experiment also indicated no significant correlation between reported synesthesia and gender, major field of study, handedness, or age. In conclusion, a portion of the adult population reports synesthetic perception. These people have higher CMT scores, use imagery and verbal abilities more in their life (as measured by the IDQ), and report more vivid visual imagery (as measured by the Betts).