By Claire Wiggins
The University of Sussex recently published their findings in Scientific Reports, describing how people can learn to associate letters with colors in a synesthetic manner, and that this type of training may boost the individual’s IQ score. The study was initially inspired by the neurological condition Synesthesia, which causes an individual to experience overlaps in their five senses. For example, they may “see” a sound, or “taste” a shape or color. Although this condition is fairly common (about 1 in 23), scientists are unsure if it genetically inherited, if it is learned from environmental influences, or a combination of both.
In the study, participants were not only able to pass tests of color-letter association, but often associated personas or moods with the letters as well. Interestingly, those who participated in this association training had an average of 12 points added to their IQ score compared to those who did not participate in any such training.
Co-author of the study, Dr. Daniel Bor, commented, “The main implication of our study is that radically new ways of experiencing the world can be brought about simply through extensive perceptual training. The cognitive boost, although provisional, may eventually lead to clinical cognitive training tools to support mental function in vulnerable groups, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) children, or adults starting to suffer from dementia."
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