Synesthesia and its Connection to Memory and Learning
Peter Zhang, Kai Choi
St George's School
Floor Location : J 184 H

We decided to investigate synesthesia when we came across a video on Ted-Ed explaining how synesthetes had more extreme interactions with the world. We wanted to find out if we can take certain pieces of synesthesia, and give them to non-synesthetes to improve their memory. Experiments similar to this have been conducted by scientists in the UK, but their testing has been applied to young children. We have conducted our experiment on older children, and so we want to see if we can strengthen connections that are already there. Synesthesia is all about creating strange connections and attributions, which can help with memory, so that is what we tried to achieve. Our hypothesis was: There is a connection between synesthesia (especially sight) and learning; this connection can be applied in teaching students and young children especially. In our experiment, we first split our test subjects into 4 groups. One group learned with sight stimuli, one group with taste, one with smell, and one group learning with conventional methods. We taught our test subjects words in Dutch, giving the volunteers the word's part of speech. We gave some of the volunteers stimuli directed at their senses, to try to help them attribute the stimuli to the parts of speech. Afterwards, we tested each subject, and found that the group learning with sight and colour stimuli scored approximately 2 points (out of 12) higher than each of the other groups. In conclusion, we found that although synesthesia does not have a direct benefit to memory in non-synesthetes, synesthesia and stimuli still offers bonuses in memory, as volunteers learning with synesthesia had an easier time recalling words. We believe that with time and practice, we can strengthen these connections even more, to the point where these attributions can be almost immediate.