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News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

People trained to experience an overlap in senses also receive IQ boost

•, By Nick Lavars

Not a great deal is known about why some people experience an overlapping of the senses, a phenomena known as synesthesia. But a new study conducted at the University of Sussex has suggested that specific training of the mind can induce the effects of the condition. The study even suggests that such training can boost a person's IQ.

It is believed that around one in 23 people experience synesthesia. One of the big question marks surrounding the neurological condition is whether it is a result of our genes, or induced through behavior, such as the use of those colored magnetic letters found on fridges around the globe.

Psychologists at the University of Sussex's Sackler Center for Consciousness Science subjected a group of 14 adults to a nine week program designed to incite traits of synesthesia. They found that by the project's end, the participants had strong enough letter-to-color associations to pass standard testing for synesthesia. The majority also reported the letters themselves seeming "colored" and possessing certain personalities, such as "x" being boring and "w" being calm, for example.

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