Disruption of synaesthesia by posthypnotic suggestion: an ERP study.
Terhune DB., Cardeña E., Lindgren M.
This study examined whether the behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of synaesthetic response conflict could be disrupted by posthypnotic suggestion. We recorded event-related brain potentials while a highly suggestible face-color synaesthete and matched controls viewed congruently and incongruently colored faces in a color-naming task. The synaesthete, but not the controls, displayed slower response times, and greater P1 and sustained N400 ERP components over frontal-midline electrodes for incongruent than congruent faces. The behavioral and N400 markers of response conflict, but not the P1, were abolished following a posthypnotic suggestion for the termination of the participant's synaesthesia and reinstated following the cancellation of the suggestion. These findings demonstrate that the conscious experience of synaesthesia can be temporarily abolished by cognitive control.