Music-Colour Synaesthesia: Sensorimotor Features and Synaesthetic Experience


Please click this link to PART ONE to start

What is Music-Colour Synaesthesia?

The umbrella term ‘music-colour synaesthesia’ or simply ‘coloured-hearing’ has been applied to the experience of colour elicited on hearing sounds. The phenomenon is often accompanied by textures, shapes and spatial landscapes. Yet music-colour synaesthesia is not always just about about sound or individual tones and chords. It has been shown that timbre, tempo, and emotion mediate the experience and that some synaesthetes need to hear an entire musical piece to produce a synaesthetic response.

Many synaesthetes assume that everybody experiences the world the way they do and are not aware of their uniqueness. Perhaps that is the same for you?

This research project is designed to explore how music-colour synaesthesia is mediated by concept and context but is grounded in action, and to test the commonalities between the mechanisms that underlie music-colour synaesthesia and general music cognition.

The research is led by Phd Candidate Caroline Curwen in collaboration with Prof. Renee Timmers from Sheffield, UK and Dr Andrea Schiavio from Graz, Austria.

Part One - Background

Part One of the study comprises the collection of some general demographics. You will also be asked about your about musical ability, and whether you experience any form of music-colour synaesthesia. Those who do experience synaesthesia for music will be asked to provide an example of a piece of music that elicits a very strong synaesthetic experience and one that does not, and a brief description of why.

This part of the study should take approximately 10 mins.

Part Two - Main Experiment

Part Two is an online experiment. You may be invited to participate following the completion of Part One.

You will be invited to use headphones to listen twelve short musical excerpts. Each excerpt will be followed by a list of sensorimotor and emotional dimensions and you will be asked to select and rate the most applicable poles via a radial button, and to rate your liking of the excerpt. Those who experience synaesthesia for music will also be asked to rate the intensity of their synaesthetic experience.

Excerpts can be played as many times as necessary. There will be no time limit and you will also have the option to save your progress and continue later.

The experiment should take approximately 30 minutes.

Following the experiment you may be invited to participate in a short post-test interview.

Please click this link to PART ONE to start