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Synaesthesias in Context: A Preliminary Study of the Adult Recall of Childhood Synaesthesias, Imaginary Companions, and Altered States of Consciousness as Forms of Imaginative Absorption

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Abstract:

Participants recruited for high levels of imaginative absorption were administered a questionnaire based on Calkins' (1892, 1895) original study that first established a wide continuum of childhood synaesthesias and synaesthetic associations, along with separate questionnaires assessing childhood imaginary companions, positive altered states of consciousness (lucid and archetypal forms of dreaming, mystical experiences) and negative states of nightmares and night terrors. Their inter-relation and relation to measures of adult imaginative absorption helps to establish these states as aspects of an underlying imagistic dimension, while their relative differentiation is explored through different forms of adult absorption, early stressors from childhood, and degree of parental support for creative activities. The connection of this wider continuum of adult recalled childhood synasesthesias, imaginary companions, and altered states of consciousness to adult imaginative absorption is consistent with recent neuro-imaging synaesthetic research supporting its relation to symbolic cognition, metaphor, and creativity.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, L2S 3A1., Email: hhunt@brocku.ca

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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