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The induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents: A systematic review

The induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents: A systematic review

Luke, David P. ORCID: 0000-0003-2141-2453 and Terhune, Devin B. (2013) The induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents: A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychology, 4:753. ISSN 1664-1078 (doi:

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Despite the general consensus that synaesthesia emerges at an early developmental stage and is only rarely acquired during adulthood, the transient induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents has been frequently reported in research on different psychoactive substances. Nevertheless, these effects remain poorly understood and have not been systematically incorporated. Here we review the known published studies in which chemical agents were observed to elicit synaesthesia. Across studies there is consistent evidence that serotonin agonists elicit transient experiences of synaesthesia. Despite convergent results across studies, studies investigating the induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents have numerous methodological limitations and little experimental research has been conducted. Cumulatively, these studies implicate the serotonergic system in synaesthesia and have implications for the neurochemical mechanisms underlying this phenomenon but methodological limitations in this research area preclude making firm conclusions regarding whether chemical agents can induce genuine synaesthesia.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Copyright: (C) 2013 Luke and Terhune. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. [2] Citation: Luke DP and Terhune DB (2013) The induction of synaesthesia with chemical agents: a systematic review. Front. Psychol. 4:753. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00753 [3] Acknowledgments (funding): Devin B. Terhune is supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.
Uncontrolled Keywords: drugs, serotonin, synaesthesia
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Psychology & Counselling
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:27
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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