First Advisor

Joe E. Pierce

Term of Graduation

Spring 1973

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology









Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 63 pages)


It has been suggested in the literature that Synaesthesia, as an expression of syncretic thought, would be more common in non-Western than in Western cultures. Given the lack of availability of widely divergent cultural groups and the general lack of knowledge about the phenomenon, it was decided to study the possibility that synaesthesia in our society might be related to socio-economic class. A group of high school students from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds was studied, and the results suggest that the occurrence of synaesthesia is not related to class. In addition, it was found that 50% of the sample tested were synaesthetic to some degree, an incidence higher than any reported previously for adults. The various types of synaesthesia are discussed in conjunction with a hypothetical neurophysiological basis for the phenomenon. It was found that about 60% of the synaesthetic subjects showed evidence of incomplete cerebral dominance. However, no definite conclusions as to the causes of synaesthesia in adults could be determined from the observations made, and the questions raised by this study offer suggestions for future research into the problem.


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