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Personality profile of child synaesthetes

Rinaldi, Louisa; Smees, Rebecca; Carmichael, Duncan; Simner, Julia


Louisa Rinaldi

Rebecca Smees

Julia Simner


Previous research into personality and synaesthesia has focused on adult populations and yielded mixed results. One particular challenge has been to distinguish traits associated with synaesthesia, from traits associated with the ways in which synaesthetes were recruited. In the current study we looked at the synaesthetic personality in childhood, and resolved sampling issues by screening the student bodies of 22 primary schools in the South East of England (n= 3387; children aged 6 to 11 years old). We screened children for two types of synaesthesia (grapheme-colour synaesthesia and sequence-personality synaesthesia) and tested their personalities using both child-report and parent-report measures. We found strong support for synaesthesia being associated with high Openness to Experience, a personality trait linked to intelligence and creativity. Both synaesthesia subtypes showed this feature, supporting previous research in adults (Banissy et al., 2013; Chun & Hupé, 2016; Rouw & Scholte, 2016). We additionally found low Extraversion in grapheme-colour synaesthetes and high Conscientiousness in sequence-personality synaesthetes. We discuss our results with reference to earlier recruitment issues, and as to how perceptual differences such as synaesthesia might link to trait-differences in personality.


Rinaldi, L., Smees, R., Carmichael, D., & Simner, J. (2020). Personality profile of child synaesthetes. Frontiers in Bioscience, 12, 162-182

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2020
Publication Date Mar 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2019
Print ISSN 1093-9946
Electronic ISSN 1093-4715
Publisher Bioscience Research Institute
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Pages 162-182
Keywords synaesthesia, personality, children, grapheme-colour, ordinal linguistic personification
Public URL
PMID 32114456


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