Cognitive dedifferentiation in eidetics and synaesthesia: Hunting for the ghost once more

Joseph Glicksohn, Iris Steinbach, Sigal Elimalach-Malmilyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Both synaesthesia and eidetics have a common characteristic of cognitive dedifferentiation. Synaesthesia (eg colour - hearing) entails the dedifferentiation of the sensory modalities, while eidetic imagery entails the dedifferentiation of imagery and perception. One can profitably gain by investigating both within the same study. Moreover, some of the same issues have arisen in these, hitherto, separate research literatures. This behoves a common framework for analysis and investigation. We applied a technique previously used for identifying child eidetikers, for screening the adult population, looking at both phenomena in the same sample. After screening, we selected a total of twenty-nine individuals for controlled testing of both phenomena and their variants (structural eidetic imagery, typographic eidetic imagery, colour - hearing synaesthesia, colour-mood synaesthesia). Our participants also completed a number of questionnaires of relevance (absorption, dissociation, and hallucination). We found that the personality trait of absorption underlies the commonality of experience tapped by both typographic and structural eidetic imagery. Furthermore, the latter phenomena were found to have a common pseudohallucinatory experiential base. For subjects scoring relatively high on the absorption scale, there is a negative correlation between structural eidetic imagery and colour-mood synaesthetic differentiation, replicating to a degree results reported earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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