Scientists Learn How to Teach Synesthesia (Let the Weirdness Begin)

Scientists at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, have demonstrated a nine-week training course that successfully teaches individuals to see letters as certain colors.

Scientists Learn How to Teach Synesthesia (Let the Weirdness Begin)

Scientists at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, have demonstrated a nine-week training course that successfully teaches individuals to see letters as certain colors, a classic variety of sensory crossover known as synesthesia. Participants of the study were asked to read texts for half an hour, five days a week, in which thirteen letters were continuously associated with specific colors. 


"The colour immediately pops into my head," said a subject who experienced some of the strongest effects. "When I look at a sign the whole word appears according to the training colors."

An unexpected benefit to learning synesthesia, the participants found, was a sharply rising IQ level. Study volunteers registered a stunning twelve point increase on IQ exams while a control group, who was not taught synesthesia, registered no increase. Olympia Colizoli of the University of Amsterdam, who led one study in which synesthesia was taught under laboratory conditions, said that "people with spontaneous synaesthesia also have better memories for information relating to their mixed-up senses," perhaps accounting for the apparent rise in IQ. 

As neuroscientist David Eagleman explains in his Big Think interview, there are many different kinds of synesthesia. The most common form is letter-color associations like those taught in the study. For Eagleman, it demonstrates how individuals can perceive reality completely differently from each other:

Read more at New Scientist

Photo credit: Shutterstock

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Excavation of a triceratops skull in South Dakota.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Keep reading Show less

The cost of world peace? It's much less than the price of war

The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
  • That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
  • Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
  • Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
  • Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
Keep reading Show less

The evolution of modern rainforests began with the dinosaur-killing asteroid

The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.

Velociraptor Dinosaur in the Rainforest

meen_na via Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
  • A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
  • The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast