The Sussex Cognitive Styles Questionnaire: An exploratory factor analysis in synaesthetes and controls

Andy Mealor, Duncan Carmichael, Julia Simner, Jamie Ward

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Given that synaesthesia is associated with additional experiences triggered by an appropriate inducing stimulus, how might synaesthetes differ from non‐synaesthetes in their preferred methods of information processing? Grapheme‐colour synaesthetes show a preference for both verbal and vivid visual imagery processing styles, but not for spatial visualisation (Meier & Rothen, 2013). We aimed to further investigate visual imagery in different forms of synaesthesia with a focus on its everyday use, rather than
vividness per se. We additionally explored whether synaesthetes differ in the tendency to systemise or notice patterns in material, and the level at which processing is directed (i.e. local or global bias). We issued the new Sussex Cognitive Styles Questionnaire (SCSQ) comprised of previously published and novel items to 142 self‐reported synaesthetes (grapheme‐colour and sequence‐space) and 296 controls. Exploratory factor analysis suggested a 6‐factor model: Habitual Use of Visual Imagery; Technical Use of Imagery; Verbal Curiosity; Global vs. Local Bias; Tendency to Systemise; Preference for
Organisation. All factors exhibited acceptable to excellent internal onsistency. The presence of either form of synaesthesia was associated with a local bias relative to controls and was associated with higher mean factor scores on the Habitual Use of Visual Imagery, Verbal Curiosity and Tendency to Systemise factors. Only those with sequencespace synaesthesia scored higher than controls on Technical Use of Imagery. Groups did not differ in Preference for Organisation. Although requiring validation with external measures, the SCSQ supports quantitative differences in cognitive styles both between different forms of synaesthesia and between synaesthetes and controls.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSynaesthesia in Perspective: Development, Networks, and Multisensory Processing - Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendor, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 28 Feb 20141 Mar 2014


ConferenceSynaesthesia in Perspective: Development, Networks, and Multisensory Processing


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