IMR Press / FBS / Volume 13 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.52586/S549
Open Access Review
Is synaesthesia a predisposing factor to post-traumatic stress disorder?
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1 School of Psychology, University of Sussex, BN1 9QH Falmer, Brighton, UK
*Correspondence: (Jamie Ward)
Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2021, 13(1), 14–16;
Submitted: 24 March 2020 | Accepted: 29 January 2021 | Published: 30 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synesthesia, hallucination and mental disorders)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

This article summarises recent evidence that suggests that synaesthesia is one of the largest known risk factors for the development of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This important and novel finding is explained in terms of the underlying cognitive differences that are found in people with synaesthesia. When asked to recall previous (non-traumatic), events, synaesthetes are more likely to report re-experiencing sensory and affective details from the time of the event and are more likely to report reliving the event from a first-person perspective. These memory qualities, perhaps coupled with memory inflexibility, may act as a clinical vulnerability to flashbacks following exposure to trauma.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome
Mental imagery
Fig. 1.
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