Brief Communications

Nature 434, 38 (3 March 2005) | doi:10.1038/434038a; Published online 2 March 2005

Synaesthesia:  When coloured sounds taste sweet

Gian Beeli1, Michaela Esslen1 & Lutz Jäncke1

Synaesthesia is the involuntary physical experience of a cross-modal linkage — for example, hearing a tone (the inducing stimulus) evokes an additional sensation of seeing a colour (concurrent perception). Of the different types of synaesthesia, most have colour as the concurrent perception1, with concurrent perceptions of smell or taste being rare2, 3. Here we describe the case of a musician who experiences different tastes in response to hearing different musical tone intervals, and who makes use of her synaesthetic sensations in the complex task of tone-interval identification. To our knowledge, this combination of inducing stimulus and concurrent perception has not been described before.

  1. Institute of Neuropsychology, University of Zurich, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland

Correspondence to: Lutz Jäncke1 Email: l.jaencke@psychologie.unizh.ch

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