Synaesthetic associations: exploring the colours of voices

Moos, A., Simmons, D. R. and Smith, R. (2014) Synaesthetic associations: exploring the colours of voices. In: Anderson, W., Biggam, C., Hough, C. and Kay, C. (eds.) Colour studies: A broad spectrum. John Benjamins, pp. 352-365. ISBN 9789027212191 (doi: 10.1075/z.191.23moo)

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While colour terms are occasionally used to describe a voice metaphorically, people with a neurological multi-sensory condition called synaesthesia have non-metaphorical, automatic and involuntary colour associations with the sound of a voice. After extensive research on other types of synaesthesia, this study is the first to investigate voice-induced synaesthesia on a group level, and to compare results with phoneticians and control participants. It was found that pitch and pitch range of a voice influenced brightness and colour associations with a voice for all groups. Group differences were mainly found in verbal descriptions of the voices: many synaesthetes used their additional perceptions to describe the voice, phoneticians used technical terms, and controls mostly described (personality) characteristics of the speaker.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moos, Ms Anja and Smith, Dr Rachel and Simmons, Dr David
Authors: Moos, A., Simmons, D. R., and Smith, R.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Publisher:John Benjamins

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