Alexandra Rieger

General Subjects Display Cross-Modal Responses to Musical Stimuli

Proceedings of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM)
We investigated the perception of music in a cognitive musicology study, employing behavioral methods to examine general associative patterns--i.e. the propensity for subjects to recruit associations when listening to music, reminiscent of synaesthetic cross-wiring (Cytowic, 2009). Although non-Synaesthetic associations to music are less explored, experiments such as Köhler’s (1929) linguistic “Kiki, Boulba” study, demonstrated associations in non-synaesthetes, supporting the hypothesis that general listeners engage cross-sensorial connections.

Non-Auditory Associations of Musical and Non-Musical Sounds in General Listeners

International Congress on Synaesthesia Art and Science V.
Our research explores theories based upon past behavioural studies and FMRI scans with Synaesthetes and general listeners. FMRI experiments have revealed that the cross-modal associations to sounds in Synaesthetes are less pronounced, yet still present in the general population. The results of our psycho-musicology study with 40 Synaesthetes and 40 non-Synaesthetes reveal a quasi-Synaesthetic [Nikolic, 2014] spectrum extending to general listeners, similar to culturally founded Synaesthesia [Kohler].