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Acquired synaesthesia following the use of psychedelics

Acquired synaesthesia following the use of psychedelics

Terhune, Devin and Luke, David ORCID: 0000-0003-2141-2453 (2018) Acquired synaesthesia following the use of psychedelics. In: Exceptional Experiences - the 20th Annual Conference of the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section (of the British Psychological Society), 06 - 08 Sep 2018, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Multiple psychedelic drugs, particularly those targeting the serotonin system can elicit experiences, resembling those of developmental synesthesia. Although controversial, drug induced synesthesia can consequentially counter some of the existing theories of synesthesia. The study presents the case of LW who is a 29-year-old-man, experiencing multiple forms of synesthesia including day-color, sound-color, emotion-color, smell-color, and face-color synesthesia, following the ingestion of 70-80mg of 2C-B at the age of 22. LW’s face-color synesthesia is the strongest, particularly when faces convey particular emotional expressions. He perceives color as visuospatial co-localized with inducing faces (projector synesthesia). The study aim was to examine whether LW’s face-color synesthesia met the criteria for automaticity and consistency, which are the main markers of developmental synesthesia. LW and ten non-synesthees completed synesthetic consistency and face-color priming tasks. LW’s face-color synesthesia met the criteria for consistency and he also displayed a larger congruency effect (incongruent – congruent) than controls, thereby reflecting that LW’s face-synesthesia also exhibits automaticity. 2C-B appears to function as a partial serotonin agonist, and the overdose may have triggered hyper excitability in LW’s visual cortex resulting in sustained color experiences that were eventually producing consistent and automatic associations with emotional faces, through consolidation over time.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychedelic, synaesthesia
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 10:20
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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