Autism Journal Club

Using Virtual Reality to recreate the synaesthetic experience

Rebecca Taylor will be joining us to talk about her Undergraduate dissertation project. The abstract for the study is: Synaesthesia is a condition where people experience unusual sensory or cognitive sensations in response to apparently unrelated stimuli. The present study aimed to examine whether Virtual Reality (VR) technology can be used to recreate the synaesthetic experience. There is a lack of research in this area, with most studies focussing primarily on synaesthetic colours. This study aimed to build on previous research by using both a traditional colour-picker and VR to capture a more nuanced picture of synaesthesia. A multiple case study design was used to examine a small number of participants' experiences in detail. Data gathering took place via Zoom. During the initial data-gathering session, participants used a colour-picker to provide grapheme-colour associations. After this session, some of the participants’ synaesthetic experiences were recreated in VR. Results indicated that VR is capable of capturing certain elements of synaesthesia that other methods have been unable to, such as texture and small degrees of movement.