Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Previous research into personality and synaesthesia has focused on adult populations and yielded mixed results. One particular challenge has been to distinguish traits associated with synaesthesia, from traits associated with the ways in which synaesthetes were recruited. In the current study we addressed recruitment issues by testing randomly sampled synaesthetes, and we looked particularly at synaesthesia in childhood. Our child synaesthetes were identified by a screening program across 22 primary schools in the South East of England (n = 3387; children aged 6 to 10 years old). This identified two types of synaesthete (grapheme-colour synaesthesia and sequence-personality synaesthesia), and we tested their personalities using both child-report and parent-report measures. We found strong support for synaesthesia being associated with high Openness to Experience, a personality trait linked to intelligence and creativity. Both synaesthesia subtypes showed this feature, supporting previous research in adults (1–3). We additionally found low Extraversion in grapheme-colour synaesthetes and high Conscientiousness in sequence-personality synaesthetes. We discuss our results with reference to earlier recruitment issues, and as to how perceptual differences such as synaesthesia might link to trait-differences in personality.