NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ825910
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Tasty Non-Words and Neighbours: The Cognitive Roots of Lexical-Gustatory Synaesthesia
Simner, Julia; Haywood, Sarah L.
Cognition, v110 n2 p171-181 Feb 2009
For lexical-gustatory synaesthetes, words trigger automatic, associated food sensations (e.g., for JB, the word "slope" tastes of over-ripe melon). Our study tests two claims about this unusual condition: that synaesthetic tastes are associated with abstract levels of word representation (concepts/lemmas), and that the first tastes to crystallise in early development are those triggered by food-names (e.g., "apple" tastes of apple; Simner & Ward, 2006). This concept/lemma-based proposal is difficult to immediately reconcile with the finding that non-words may also generate tastes (Ward, Simner, & Auyeung, 2005), since non-words have no concept/lemma representations. We manipulated the characteristics of non-words to provide three types of evidence that non-word tastes in fact stem from real word neighbours: Non-words with neighbours (e.g., "keach") are more likely to generate tastes than those with no neighbours (e.g., "vilps"); pseudo-homophone non-words that are orthographically close to real words (e.g., "peeple") are more likely to generate tastes than those that are more distant ("baybee"); and finally, the tastes of non-words are less consistent, and less intense, than those of real words. Additionally, we test the hypothesis that synaesthetic tastes develop initially from food-names by showing that non-words are more intensely flavoured if they are homophonic with food-names (e.g., toffie) versus non-foods (e.g., "peeple"). From this we conclude that synaesthetic tastes develop from food-names, and that tasty non-words do not challenge a concept/lemma-based account of lexical-gustatory synaesthesia. (Contains 1 table and 4 figures.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A