Synaesthesia research


Synaesthesia has long been of interest to scientists and artists alike. In the Wider Synaesthesia Literature section we catalogue publications on synaesthesia. On this page are some of our publications.


Botan, V., Fan, S., Critchley, H., & Ward, J. (2018). Atypical susceptibility to the rubber hand illusion linked to sensory-localised vicarious pain perception. Consciousness and Cognition, 60, 62-71.

 Chin, T., & Ward, J. (2018). Synaesthesia is linked to more vivid and detailed content of autobiographical memories and less fading of childhood memories. Memory, 26(6), 844-851.

Hamilton-Fletcher, G., Pisanski, K., Reby, D., Stefaticzyk, M., Ward, J., & Sorokowska, A. (2018). The role of visual experience in the emergence of cross-modal correspondences. Cognition, 175, 114-121.

Hossain, S. R., Simner, J., & Ipser, A. (2018). Personality predicts the vibrancy of colour imagery: The case of synaesthesia. Cortex, 105, 74-82.

Simner, J., & Bain, A. E. (2018). Do children with grapheme-colour synaesthesia show cognitive benefits? British Journal of Psychology, 109(1), 118-136.

Ward, J., Ipser, A., Phanvanova, E., Brown, P., Bunte, I., & Simner, J. (2018). The prevalence and cognitive profile of sequence-space synaesthesia. Consciousness and Cognition, 61, 79-93.

Ward, J., Schnakenberg, P., & Banissy, M. J. (2018). The relationship between mirror-touch synaesthesia and empathy: New evidence and a new screening tool. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 35(5-6), 314-332.


Cuskley, C., Simner, J., & Kirby, S. (2017). Phonological and orthographic influences in the bouba-kiki effect. Psychological Research-Psychologische Forschung, 81(1), 119-130.

Grice-Jackson, T., Critchley, H. D., Banissy, M. J., & Ward, J. (2017a). Common and distinct neural mechanisms associated with the conscious experience of vicarious pain. Cortex, 94, 152-163.

Grice-Jackson, T., Critchley, H. D., Banissy, M. J., & Ward, J. (2017b). Consciously Feeling the Pain of Others Reflects Atypical Functional Connectivity between the Pain Matrix and Frontal-Parietal Regions. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11.

Hamilton-Fletcher, G., Witzel, C., Reby, D., & Ward, J. (2017). Sound Properties Associated With Equiluminant Colours. Multisensory Research, 30(3-5), 337-362.

Hughes, J. E. A., Simner, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Treffert, D. A., & Ward, J. (2017). Is Synaesthesia More Prevalent in Autism Spectrum Conditions? Only Where There Is Prodigious Talent. Multisensory Research, 30(3-5), 391-408.

Maniglia, M., Grassi, M., & Ward, J. (2017). Sounds Are Perceived as Louder When Accompanied by Visual Movement. Multisensory Research, 30(2), 159-177.

Mankin, J. L., & Simner, J. (2017). A Is for Apple: the Role of Letter-Word Associations in the Development of Grapheme-Colour Synaesthesia. Multisensory Research, 30(3-5), 409-446.

Martin, D., Cleghorn, E., & Ward, J. (2017). The Lived Experience of Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia A Qualitative Investigation of Empathy and Social Life. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 24(1-2), 214-227.

Rothen, N., Bartl, G., Franklin, A., & Ward, J. (2017). Electrophysiological correlates and psychoacoustic characteristics of hearing-motion synaesthesia. Neuropsychologia, 106, 280-288.

Simner, J., Ipser, A., Smees, R., & Alvarez, J. (2017). Does synaesthesia age? Changes in the quality and consistency of synaesthetic associations. Neuropsychologia, 106, 407-416. 

Ward, J., & Banissy, M. J. (2017). From mirror-touch synesthesia to models of vicarious experience: A reply to commentaries. Cognitive Neuroscience, 8(4), 224-227.

Ward, J., Hoadley, C., Hughes, J. E. A., Smith, P., Allison, C., Baron-Cohen, S., & Simner, J. (2017). Atypical sensory sensitivity as a shared feature between synaesthesia and autism. Scientific Reports, 7.

Ward, J., Rothen, N., Chang, A., & Kanai, R. (2017). The structure of inter-individual differences in visual ability: Evidence from the general population and synaesthesia. Vision Research, 141, 293-302.


Atkinson, J., Lyons, T., Eagleman, D., Woll, B., & Ward, J. (2016). Synesthesia for manual alphabet letters and numeral signs in second-language users of signed languages. NeuroCase, 22(4), 379-386.

Hamilton-Fletcher, G., Wright, T. D., & Ward, J. (2016). Cross-Modal Correspondences Enhance Performance on a Colour-to-Sound Sensory Substitution Device. Multisensory Research, 29(4-5), 337-363.

Mankin, J. L., Thompson, C., Branigan, H. P., & Simner, J. (2016). Processing compound words: Evidence from synaesthesia. Cognition, 150, 1-9.

Mealor, A. D., Simner, J., Rothen, N., Carmichael, D. A., & Ward, J. (2016). Different Dimensions of Cognitive Style in Typical and Atypical Cognition: New Evidence and a New Measurement Tool. PLoS One, 11(5).

Pfeifer, G., Ward, J., Chan, D., & Sigala, N. (2016). Representational Account of Memory: Insights from Aging and Synesthesia. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(12), 1987-2002.

Rothen, N., Junemann, K., Mealor, A. D., Burckhardt, V., & Ward, J. (2016). The sensitivity and specificity of a diagnostic test of sequence-space synesthesia. Behavior Research Methods, 48(4), 1476-1481.

Shriki, O., Sadeh, Y., & Ward, J. (2016). The Emergence of Synaesthesia in a Neuronal Network Model via Changes in Perceptual Sensitivity and Plasticity. Plos Computational Biology, 12(7).

Simner, J., Rehme, M. K., Carmichael, D. A., Bastin, M. E., Sprooten, E., McIntosh, A. M., . . . Zedler, M. (2016). Social responsiveness to inanimate entities: Altered white matter in a 'social synaesthesia'. Neuropsychologia, 91, 282-289.

Slocombe, B. G., Carmichael, D. A., & Simner, J. (2016). Cross-modal tactile-taste interactions in food evaluations. Neuropsychologia, 88, 58-64.

Terhune, D. B., Luke, D. P., Kaelen, M., Bolstridge, M., Feilding, A., Nutt, D., . . . Ward, J. (2016). A placebo-controlled investigation of synaesthesia-like experiences under LSD. Neuropsychologia, 88, 28-34.

van Praag, C. D. G., Garfinkel, S., Ward, J., Bor, D., & Seth, A. K. (2016). Automaticity and localisation of concurrents predicts colour area activity in grapheme-colour synaesthesia. Neuropsychologia, 88, 5-14.


Anderson, H. P., & Ward, J. (2015). Principle component analyses of questionnaires measuring individual differences in synaesthetic phenomenology. Consciousness and Cognition, 33, 316-324.

Bankieris, K., & Simner, J. (2015). What is the link between synaesthesia and sound symbolism? Cognition, 136, 186-195.

Carmichael, D. A., Down, M. P., Shillcock, R. C., Eagleman, D. M., & Simner, J. (2015). Validating a standardised test battery for synesthesia: Does the Synesthesia Battery reliably detect synesthesia? Consciousness and Cognition, 33, 375-385.

Eccles, J. A., Garfinkel, S. N., Harrison, N. A., Ward, J., Taylor, R. E., Bewley, A. P., & Critchley, H. D. (2015). Sensations of skin infestation linked to abnormal frontolimbic brain reactivity and differences in self-representation. Neuropsychologia, 77, 90-96.

Gray, B. F., & Simner, J. (2015). Synesthesia and release phenomena in sensory and motor grounding. Cases of disinhibited embodiment? Frontiers in psychology, 6.

Havlik, A. M., Carmichael, D. A., & Simner, J. (2015). Do sequence-space synaesthetes have better spatial imagery skills? Yes, but there are individual differences. Cognitive processing, 16(3), 245-253.

Kay, C. L., Carmichael, D. A., Ruffell, H. E., & Simner, J. (2015). Colour fluctuations in grapheme-colour synaesthesia: The effect of clinical and non-clinical mood changes. British Journal of Psychology, 106(3), 487-504.

Simner, J., & Carmichael, D. A. (2015). Is synaesthesia a dominantly female trait? Cognitive Neuroscience, 6(2-3), 68-76.

Simner, J., Carmichael, D. A., Hubbard, E. M., Morris, Z., & Lawrie, S. M. (2015). Rates of white matter hyperintensities compatible with the radiological profile of multiple sclerosis within self-referred synesthete populations. NeuroCase, 21(3), 322-330.

Spiller, M. J., Jonas, C. N., Simner, J., & Jansari, A. (2015). Beyond visual imagery: How modality-specific is enhanced mental imagery in synesthesia? Consciousness and Cognition, 31, 73-85.

Ward, J., & Banissy, M. J. (2015). Explaining mirror-touch synesthesia. Cognitive Neuroscience.

Ward, J., Mensah, A., & Juenemann, K. (2015). The Rubber Hand Illusion Depends on the Tactile Congruency of the Observed and Felt Touch. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Human Perception and Performance, 41(5), 1203-1208.

Wright, T. D., Margolis, A., & Ward, J. (2015). Using an auditory sensory substitution device to augment vision: evidence from eye movements. Experimental Brain Research, 233(3), 851-860.


Anderson, H. P., Seth, A. K., Dienes, Z., & Ward, J. (2014). Can grapheme-color synesthesia be induced by hypnosis ? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8.

Bankieris, K., & Simner, J. (2014). Sound symbolism in synesthesia: Evidence from a lexical-gustatory synesthete. NeuroCase, 20(6), 640-651.

Gould, C., Froese, T., Barrett, A. B., Ward, J., & Seth, A. K. (2014). An extended case study on the phenomenology of sequence-space synesthesia. Frontier in Human Neuroscience, 8, 433.

Hung, W.-Y., Simner, J., Shillcock, R., & Eagleman, D. M. (2014). Synaesthesia in Chinese characters: The role of radical function and position. Consciousness and Cognition, 24, 38-48.

Jonas, C. N., Spiller, M. J., Jansari, A., & Ward, J. (2014). Comparing implicit and synaesthetic number-space associations: Visuospatial and verbal spatial-numerical associations of response codes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(7), 1262-1273.

Jonas, C. N., & Ward, J. (2014). Number-space associations in synaesthesia are not influenced by finger-counting habits. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26(2), 232-240.

Pfeifer, G., Rothen, N., Ward, J., Chan, D., & Sigala, N. (2014). Associative memory advantage in grapheme-color synesthetes compared to older, but not young adults. Frontiers in psychology, 5.

Ward, J., & Wright, T. (2014). Sensory substitution as an artificially acquired synaesthesia. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 41, 26-35.


Banissy, M. J., & Ward, J. (2013). Mechanisms of self-other representations and vicarious experiences of touch in mirror-touch synesthesia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 112.

Banissy, M.J., Holle, H., Cassell, J., Annett, L., Tsakanikos, E., Walsh, V., Spiller, M.J., & Ward. J. (2013). Personality traits in people with synaesthesia: Do synaesthetes have an atypical personality profile? Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 828–831.

Banissy, M. J., Muggleton, N., Tester, V., Janik, A. B., Davenport, A., Franklin, A., . . . Ward, J. (2013). Synaesthesia for color is linked to improved color perception, but reduced motion perception. Psychological Science, 24(12), 2390-2397

Carmichael, D. A., & Simner, J. (2013). The immune hypothesis of synesthesia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.

Goller, A.I., Richards, K., Novak, S. & Ward, J. (2013). Mirror-touch Synaesthesia in the Phantom Limbs of Amputees. Cortex.49, 243-251.

Ludwig, V. U., & Simner, J. (2013). What colour does that feel? Tactile-visual mapping and the development of cross-modality. Cortex, 49(4), 1089-1099

Moos, A., Simmons, D., Simner, J., & Smith, R. (2013). Color and texture associations in voice-induced synesthesia. Frontiers in psychology, 4.

Pritchard, J., Rothen, N., Coolbear, D., & Ward, J. (2013). Enhanced associative memory for colour (but not shape or location) in synaesthesia. Cognition, 127 (2), 230-234.

Rothen, N., & Meier, B. (2013). Why vicarious experience is not an instance of synaesthesia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 128.

Rothen, N., Nikolić, D., Jürgens, U.M., Mroczko, A., Cock, J., & Meier, B. (2013). Psychophysiological evidence for the genuineness of swimming-style colour synaesthesia. Consciousness and Cognition, 22 (1), 35-46.

Rothen, N., Seth, A.K., Witzel, C., & Ward, J. (2013). Diagnosing synaesthesia with online colour pickers: Maximising sensitivity and specificity. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 215 (1), 156-160.

Rothen, N., Tsakanikos, E., Meier, B., & Ward, J. (2013). Coloured Letters and Numbers (CLaN): a reliable factor-analysis based synaesthesia questionnaire. Consciousness and Cognition, 22 (3), 1047-1060.

Simner, J. (2013). Why are there different types of synesthete? Frontiers in psychology, 4.

Simner, J., & Bain, A. E. (2013). A longitudinal study of grapheme-color synesthesia in childhood: 6/7 years to 10/11 years. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.

Terhune, D.B., Rothen, N., & Cohen Kadosh, R. (2013). Correcting misconceptions about synaesthesia. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 103, 1-2.

Ward, J. & Wright, T.D. (in press). Sensory substitution as an artificially acquired synaesthesia. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Ward, J. (2013). Synesthesia. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 49-75.


Banissy, M.J., Stewart, L., Muggleton, N.G., Griffiths, T., Walsh, V., Ward, J., & Kanai, R. (2012). Grapheme-colour and tone-colour synaesthesia is associated with structural brain changes in visual regions implicated in colour, form and motion. Cognitive Neuroscience, 3, 29-35.

Banissy, M.J., Cassell, J.E., Fitzpatrick, S., Ward, J., Walsh, V., & Muggleton, N.G. (2012). Increased positive and disorganised schizotypy in synaesthete’s who experience colour from letters and tones. Cortex, 48, 1085-1087.

Holle, H., Warne, K., Seth, A. K., Critchley, H. D., & Ward, J. (2012). The neural basis of contagious itch and why some people are more prone to it. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 109, 19816–1982.

Rothen, N., Meier, B., & Ward, J. (2012). Enhanced memory ability: Insights from synaesthesia. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36 (8), 1952-1963.

Rothen, N., & Terhune, D.B. (2012). Increased Resting State Network Connectivity in Synesthesia: Evidence for a Neural Basis of Synesthetic Consistency. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32 (40), 13641-13643.

Fernay, L., Reby, D., & Ward, J. (2012).  Visualised voices: A case study of audio-visual synaesthesia.  Neurocase, 18, 50-56.

Simner, J. (2012). Defining synaesthesia. British Journal of Psychology, 103, 1-15.

Simner, J., & Ludwig, V. U. (2012). The color of touch: A case of tactile-visual synaesthesia. NeuroCase, 18, 167-180.


Amin, M., Olu-Lafe, O., Claessen, L.E., Sobczak-Edmans, M., Ward, J., Williams, A.L., Sagiv, N. (2011). Understanding grapheme personification: A social synaesthesia? Journal of Neuropsychology, 5 (2), pp. 255-282.

Banissy, M.J., Garrido, L., Kusnir, F., Duchaine, B., Walsh, V., Ward, J. (2011). Superior facial expression, but not identity recognition, in mirror-touch synaesthesia. Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (5), pp. 1820-1824.

Jewanski, J., Simner, J., Day, S.A., Ward, J. (2011). The development of a scientific understanding of synesthesia from early case studies (1849-1873). Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 20 (4), pp. 284-305.

Jonas, C.N., Taylor, A.J.G., Hutton, S., Weiss, P.H., Ward, J. (2011). Visuo-spatial representations of the alphabet in synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes. Journal of Neuropsychology, 5 (2), pp. 302-322.

Jones, C.L., Gray, M.A., Minati, L., Simner, J., Critchley, H.D., Ward, J. (2011). The neural basis of illusory gustatory sensations: Two rare cases of lexical-gustatory synaesthesia. Journal of Neuropsychology, 5 (2), pp. 243-254.

Holle, H., Banissy, M., Wright, T., Bowling, N., Ward, J. (2011). "That's not a real body": Identifying stimulus qualities that modulate synaesthetic experiences of touch. Consciousness and Cognition, 20 (3), pp. 720-726.

Nikolić, D., Jürgens, U.M., Rothen, N., Meier, B., & Mroczko, A. (2011). Swimming-style synaesthesia. Cortex, 47 (7), 874-879.

Rothen, N., Wantz, A.L., & Meier, B. (2011). Training synaesthesia. Perception, 40 (10), 1248-1250.

Simner, J., Hung, W.-Y., & Shillcock, R. (2011). Synaesthesia in a logographic language: The colouring of Chinese characters and Pinyin/Bopomo spellings. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(4), 1376-1392


Duffy, P. L., & Simner, J. (2010). Synaesthesia in fiction. Cortex, 46(2), 277-278.

Rothen, N., & Meier, B. (2010). Grapheme-colour synaesthesia yields an ordinary rather than extraordinary memory advantage. Evidence from a group study. Memory, 18(3), 258-264.

Rothen, N., & Meier, B. (2010). The prevalence of synaesthesia in art students. Perception, 39(5), 718-720.

Rothen, N., Nyffeler, T., von Wartburg, R., Müri, R. & Meier, B. (2010). Parieto-occipital suppression eliminates implicit bidirectionality in grapheme-colour synaesthesia. Neuropsychologia, 48(12), 3482-3487.

Simner, J., Cuskley, C., & Kirby, S. (2010). What sound does that taste? Cross-modal mappings across gustation and audition. Perception, 39(4), 553-569

Ward, J., Jonas, C., Dienes, Z., & Seth, A. (2010). Grapheme-colour synaesthesia improves detection of embedded shapes, but without pre-attentive 'pop-out' of synaesthetic colour. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 277(1684), 1021-1026.

Ward, J., & Meijer, P. (2010). Visual experiences in the blind induced by an auditory sensory substitution device. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(1), 492-500.


Banissy, M. J., Kadosh, R. C., Maus, G. W., Walsh, V., & Ward, J. (2009). Prevalence, characteristics and a neurocognitive model of mirror-touch synaesthesia. Experimental Brain Research, 198(2-3), 261-272.

Banissy, M. J., Walsh, V., & Ward, J. (2009). Enhanced sensory perception in synaesthesia. Experimental Brain Research, 196(4), 565-571.

Goller, A. I., Otten, L. J., & Ward, J. (2009). Seeing sounds and hearing colors: An event-related potential study of auditory-visual synesthesia. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 1869-1881.

Jewanski, J., Day, S. A., & Ward, J. (2009). A colorful albino: The first documented case of synaesthesia, by Georg Tobias Ludwig Sachs in 1812. Journal of the History of Neurosciences, 18, 293-303.

Meier, B., & Rothen, N. (2009). Training grapheme-colour associations produces a synaesthetic Stroop effect, but not a conditioned synaesthetic response. Neuropsychologia, 47(4), 1208-1211.

Rothen, N., & Meier, B. (2009). Do synesthetes have a general advantage in visual search and episodic memory? A case for group studies. PLoS One, 4, e5037.

Simner, J., Harrold, J., Creed, H., Monro, L., & Foulkes, L. (2009). Early detection markers for synaesthesia in childhood populations. Brain, 132, 57-64.

Simner, J., & Haywood, S. L. (2009). Tasty non-words and neighbours: The cognitive roots of lexical-gustatory synaesthesia. Cognition, 110, 171-181.

Simner, J., Mayo, N., & Spiller, M.-J. (2009). A foundation for savantism? Visuo-spatial synaesthetes present with cognitive benefits. Cortex, 45(10), 1246-1260.


Simner, J., & Ward, J. (2008). Synaesthesia, color terms, and color space: Color claims came from color names in Beeli, Esslen, and Jäncke (2007). Psychological Science, 19, 412-414.

Tang, J., Ward, J., & Butterworth, B. (2008). Number forms in the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 1547-1556.

Ward, J. (2008). The Frog who Croaked Blue: Synesthesia and the Mixing of the Senses. London: Routledge.

Ward, J., Banissy, M. J., & Jonas, C. N. (2008). Haptic perception and synaesthesia. In M. Grunwald (Ed.), Handbook of Haptic Perception. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Ward, J., Moore, S., Thompson-Lake, D., Salih, S., & Beck, B. (2008). The aesthetic appeal of auditory-visual synaesthetic perceptions in people without synaesthesia. Perception, 37, 1285-1296.

Ward, J., Thompson-Lake, D., Ely, R., & Kaminski, F. (2008). Synaesthesia, creativity and art: What is the link? British Journal of Psychology, 99, 127-141.