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Grapheme-color and tone-color synesthesia is associated with structural brain changes in visual regions implicated in color, form, and motion

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  • Michael J Banissy
  • ,
  • Lauren Stewart
  • ,
  • Neil G Muggleton, Denmark
  • Timothy D Griffiths
  • ,
  • Vincent Y Walsh, Denmark
  • Jamie Ward, Denmark
  • Ryota Kanai

Synesthesia is a rare condition in which stimulation in one modality leads to a secondary experience in another sensory modality. Varying accounts attribute the condition to either neuroanatomical differences between the synesthetes and non-synesthetes or functional differences in how sensory brain regions interact. This study employed voxel-based morphometry to examine whether synesthetes who experience both grapheme-color and tone-color synesthesia as their evoked sensation show neuroanatomical differences in gray matter volume compared to non-synesthetes. We observed that synesthetes showed an increase in gray matter volume in left posterior fusiform gyrus (FG), but a concomitant decrease in anterior regions of left FG and left MT/V5. These findings imply that synesthesia for color is linked to neuroanatomical changes between adjacent regions of the visual system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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