September 15, 3pm, KL 232
Nathan Witthoft of Stanford University
Learning, memory, and synesthesia
People with color-grapheme synesthesia experience color when viewing written letters or numerals, usually with a particular color evoked by each grapheme. What it means for letters to ‘have’ colors includes seeing a color on the surface of the letter, or having a mental image of the color, or a very specific idea of what color is associated with the letter. In this talk I will present data showing that the role of learning in the development of letter-color associations is much greater than previously thought and argue that grapheme-color synesthesia should be characterized as a kind of conditioned mental imagery resulting from an interaction between genetics and the demands of learning sequences.
Dr. Nathan Witthoft did his PhD at MIT working on the influence of experience on perception working with Lera Boroditsky. He is now a research associate at Stanford University with Kalanit Grill-Spector doing cognitive visual neuroscience. Witthoft is the author of several journal articles, including a recent paper in Psychological Sciences. He is an expert in perception, especially color perception and color-grapheme-synesthesia.