Raw data of Study 1 from Synaesthetic colour associations for Japanese Kanji characters: from the perspective of grapheme learning

One of the fundamental questions about grapheme–colour synaesthesia is how specific associations between the graphemes and colours are formed. We addressed this question by focusing on the determinants of synaesthetic colours for Japanese Kanji characters (logographic characters) using a psycholinguistic approach. Study 1 explored the influence meaning has on synaesthetic colours for Kanji characters representing abstract meanings by examining synaesthetic colours for antonym pairs (i.e. characters with meanings opposed to each other) in Japanese synaesthetes. Results showed that semantic relations influenced the grapheme–colour associations for characters representing abstract meanings in the early stages of learning abstract Kanji, while the influence was reduced in the grapheme–colour associations for those learned later. Study 2 examined the effect that learning new sounds or meanings of graphemes has on synaesthetic colours for those graphemes. Japanese synaesthetes were taught new sounds or new meanings for familiar Kanji characters. Results indicated that acquiring new information for graphemes slightly but significantly reduced the test–retest grapheme–colour association consistency, suggesting that synaesthetic colours can be modulated to reflect the synaesthete's latest knowledge about graphemes. Implications of these findings are discussed from the perspective of the relationship between synaesthesia and grapheme learning.This article is part of the discussion meeting issue ‘Bridging senses: new developments in synaesthesia’.