Is Synaesthesia More Prevalent in Autism Spectrum Conditions? Only Where There Is Prodigious Talent
There is increasing evidence from case reports that synesthesia is more common in individuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). Further, genes related to synesthesia have also been found to be linked to ASC and, similar to synaesthetes, individuals with ASC show altered brain connectivity and unusual brain activation during sensory processing. However, up to now a systematic investigation of whether synesthesia is more common in ASC patients is missing. The aim of the current pilot study was to test this hypothesis by investigating a group of patients diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) using questionnaires and standard consistency tests in order to classify them as grapheme-color synaesthetes. The results indicate that there are indeed many more grapheme-color synaesthetes among AS patients. This finding is discussed in relation to different theories regarding the development of synesthesia as well as altered sensory processing in autism.