Decoding the genetics of synaesthesia -


2016 UK Synaesthesia Association Conference


Postdoctoral scientist Amanda Tilot and Neurobiology of Language PhD student Gwilym Lockwood attended the UKSA conference in Dublin, from April 22-23. Amanda presented a poster explaining our work to recruit synaesthetes for the first genome wide association study on grapheme-colour synaesthesia.  


Synaesthesia Mobile App Now Available!

The Decoding the Genetics of Synaesthesia research team along with the Language in Interaction research consortium is proud to announce the release of our new app for mobile devices. The not only allows users to explore the phenomena of synaesthesia for themselves but also allows them to register to participate in our genetic study. The app is an excellent example of how new technology can be used to engage and educate the public about ongoing research. The app can be downloaded for free from the apple store as well as from the google play store

Picture credit: Dr. Katerina Kucera

KNAW Symposium and Masterclass

Between March 18-20 2015 the ‘Decoding the Neurobiology of Synaesthesia’ colloquium and Masterclass took place in Amsterdam, organized by the MPI Language and Genetics Department with support from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Senior researchers from around the world participated in the colloquium that brought together leading synaesthesia researchers from neurobiology, cognitive psychology, and genetics for a mix of lectures and round-table discussions, to critically evaluate the known biological aspects of synaesthesia and to debate the scientific questions that can be answered by studying this phenomenon. Young researchers, PhD and MSc students with an interest in synaesthesia, cross-modal perception, multisensory integration, sound symbolism and related topics participated in the Masterclass on the 18th of March. To see more details about who was in attendance, visit the KNAW website.

Picture credit: Dr. Katerina Kucera

LateLab: A Taste of Blue

Audiences of the LateLab series at the Edinburgh International Science Festival entered the mixed-up world of the synesthete where one sense leads to another and the whole world takes on a different meaning. Kate Kucera from the Language & Genetics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics engaged with the audience on how genetics can aid in deciphering the biological basis of synaesthesia and how this type of research can help us understand neural connectivity in the developing brain. more >

2014 UKSA Annual Conference

The 2014 UK Synaesthesia Association Annual Conference took place at Goldsmiths University, London over the weekend of the 12-13 April, 2014. Researcher Sarah Graham from the MPI for Psycholinguistics Language and Genetics Department presented a talk introducing the state-of-the-art genomic strategies being pursued by the Department to elucidate the ostensibly complex biological underpinnings of synaesthesia.


Symposium: Synaesthesia in Perspective

MPI Language and Genetics Department researcher Sarah Graham presented a poster on ‘Decoding the genetics of synaesthesia using state-of-the-art genomics’ at the symposium Synaesthesia in Perspective: Development, Networks, and Multisensory Processing, which took place at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic on 28 February - 1 March 2014. 

Link between autism and synaesthesia

Research published in the journal Molecular Autism in November 2013, co-authored by Language and Genetics Department director Simon Fisher, suggests that people with autism are more likely to experience synaesthesia. more>

Synaesthetic number form. Credit: R. E. Cytowic

Overlap between absolute pitch and synaesthesia

Research indicates that synaesthesia is more common among people who have absolute pitch, potentially reflecting an increase in neuronal connectivity underlying both conditions. The research also identified particular regions of the genome that might harbour genes influencing both traits. The study was led by researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and co-authored by MPI Language and Genetics Department director Simon Fisher and was published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics in May 2013.

Towards Identification of Genes Implicated in Synaesthesia

Main entrance of the instituteLeading synaesthesia researchers from the Netherlands, Germany, UK and US met for the one-day workshop 'Towards Identification of Genes Implicated in Synaesthesia' at the MPI for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen on 29 November 2012 to discuss and develop strategies for identifying the molecular basis of this fascinating condition. This event formed part of a long-term strategy led by the MPI Language and Genetics Department to integrate and grow the synaesthesia research community in the Netherlands and abroad, in order to develop research into the genetics of synaesthesia.

Last checked 2016-12-08 by Amanda Tilot
Language and Genetics


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