The interaction between music and the visual system is even more pronounced in people with color-music synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as a condition in which a stimulus in one modality consistently triggers a response in another modality. Estimates of the incidence of synesthesia suggest that it occurs in approximately 1% to 4% of the population (Simner et al., 2006). Synesthesia includes a number of different kinds of cross-modality experiences. For some people with synesthesia, particular words or letters may elicit particular colors, whereas for others, visual stimuli may trigger a taste experience. Color-music synesthesia occurs when particular pitches, notes, or chords elicit experiences of particular visual colors. Whereas most of us do not have synesthesia, we can do cross-modality matching with some degree of consistency and accuracy.
In this experiment you can pick a pitch and play it and then adjust a color until you find a match. This is a technique call cross-modality matching and was developed by Havard psychologist S. S. Stevens who developed magnitude estimation.
To see the illustration in full screen, which is recommended, press the Full Screen button, which appears at the top of the page.
Stimulus Size: the size or diameter of each of the
large outer circles. The value is the percentage of the half of the screen side
that the circle is on.
Stimulus Size: the size color cirlce that you will adjusting to match the tone. This is the tone you will try to match with the color stimulus.
Pitch of Tone: pick a pitch from the octave starting at middle C to the next higher C.
Sound Intensity: the intensity of the tone.
Duration of Tone (sec): how long the tone lasts.
Reset At the top of the settings page is a Reset button. Pressing this button restores the method settings to their default values.
On this tab you can adjust how the method will work. The settings include the following:
Number of Trials in the Experiment: how many times you will make your adjustment.
Range of Variation of Comparison Color: over what range will the starting value of the stimulus change. The range is a percentage of the total range of values the stimulus can have.
Reset At the top of the settings page is a Reset button. Pressing this button restores the stimulus settings to their default values.
On the Experiment tab, press a space button or the button on the screen
to start the experiment.
A circle will appear in the middle of the screen. Click or tap this circle to play the tone.
Your task is to adjust the color of the circle until it matches, to your mind, the tone.
Press Match or the enter key when you have made your match.
You data will presented on this tab. Your match for each trial will be presented as a small square on the screen. The number of the trial will be right below each sqare. To see your average color match, click the button that says Show color. To display the data for all of the trials, with different values for the red, green, and blue primaries, click the Show Data button.
Change the settings below to alter the stimulus parameters in this experiment.