SYNESTHESIA AND FISHER-PRICE REFRIGERATOR LETTERS. I posted on research in synesthesia here. Synesthesia is defined by wikipedia as ““a condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” An example I gave in my earlier post was from GATSBY: “yellow cocktail music” (vision and sound).
This article by Carl Engelking on the Discover site reports on new research on synesthesia. It is estimated that about one in 10,000 Americans has synesthesia (they are called synesthetes). The researchers put 6588 synesthetes—rather a large sample—through tests to determine the consistency of their matching colors and letters. Over 6% of the synesthetes “had letter-color pairings that matched the letters from the Fisher-Price magnet set”. And for those who were born during the toy’s peak popularity, from 1975 to 1980, that percentage rose to 15%.
One interest of the research is that it suggests that for those who are already synesthetes, environmental factors may shape their associations between letters and colors.