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Neuroscience of synesthesia and cross-modal associations

  • Marcel Neckar and Petr Bob EMAIL logo


Synesthesia is a condition in which stimulation of one sensory modality causes unusual experiences in a different, unstimulated modality. Recent findings suggest that research on synesthesia offers a unique opportunity to study the neural basis of subjective experiences in healthy and pathological brains. This review summarizes and reflects current knowledge concerning synesthesia in its various aspects, including its cognitive, neural, and behavioral aspects. In this context, recent data suggest new connections between specific conditions related to synesthesic mechanisms and association processes linked to construction of synesthetic cross-modal metaphors that may play a role in psychopathological thinking and imagination.

Corresponding author: Petr Bob, Center for Neuropsychiatric Research of Traumatic Stress, First Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and UHSL, Charles University, Ke Karlovu 11, CZ-128 00 Prague, Czech Republic, e-mail: ; and CEITEC, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic


The study was supported by the Charles University grant (PRVOUK and SVV), project provided by Czech Ministry of Education (LH11032), and the project ‘CEITEC–Central European Institute of Technology’ (CZ.1.05/1.1.00/02.0068) from the European Regional Development Fund.

Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Received: 2014-5-2
Accepted: 2014-6-5
Published Online: 2014-6-25
Published in Print: 2014-12-1

©2014 by De Gruyter

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