Executive functions in synesthesia

Romke Rouw, Joram van Driel, Koen Knip, K. Richard Ridderinkhof

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In grapheme-color synesthesia, a number or letter can evoke two different and possibly conflicting (real and synesthetic) color sensations at the same time. In this study, we investigate the relationship between synesthesia and executive control functions. First, no general skill differences were obtained between synesthetes and non-synesthetes in classic executive control paradigms. Furthermore, classic executive control effects did not interact with synesthetic behavioral effects. Third, we found support for our hypothesis that inhibition of a synesthetic color takes effort and time. Finally, individual differences analyses showed no relationship between the two skills; performance on a 'normal' Stroop task does not predict performance on a synesthetic Stroop task. Across four studies, the current results consistently show no clear relationship between executive control functions and synesthetic behavioral effects. This raises the question of which mechanisms are at play in synesthetic 'management' during the presence of two conflicting (real and synesthetic) sensations. ?? 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsciousness and Cognition
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)1090-2376
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameConsciousness and Cognition


  • Cognitive control
  • Executive function
  • Stroop effect
  • Synesthesia
  • Visual perception


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