Increased Resting State Network Connectivity in Synesthesia: Evidence for a Neural Basis of Synesthetic Consistency


Studying individual differences in conscious awareness can potentially lend fundamental insights into the neural bases of binding mechanisms and consciousness (Cohen Kadosh and Henik, 2007). Partly for this reason, considerable attention has been devoted to the neural mechanisms underlying grapheme– color synesthesia, a healthy condition involving atypical brain activation and the concurrent experience of color photisms in response to letters, numbers, and words. For instance, the letter C printed in black on a white background may elicit a yellow color photism that is perceived to be spatially colocalized with the inducing stimulus or internally in the ``mind’s eye'' as, for instance, a visual image. Synesthetic experiences are involuntary, idiosyncratic, and consistent over time (Rouw et al., 2011). To date, neuroimaging research on synesthesia has focused on brain areas activated during the experience of synesthesia and associated structural brain differences. However, activity patterns of the synesthetic brain at rest remain largely unexplored. Moreover, the neural correlates of synesthetic consistency, the hallmark characteristic of synesthesia, remain elusive. In a recent article published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Dovern and colleagues (2012) investigated intrinsic (resting) network connectivity and its relationship to color consistency in grapheme– color synesthesia. Here, we present a short critical review of their findings.

The Journal of Neuroscience