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Introduction to SynGraph

Syn G r a p h is a software tool for capturing and visualizing data on object-color mappings in the field of graphemic synaesthesia. Object-color mappings can be interactively entered into the software through its graphical user interface; the resulting diagrams can be viewed on screen, printed to paper as well as permanently stored on disk.

Basic Properties of the Software

As of its current version 0.2, the software supports the following basic functionality.

Data Capturing

Capturing object-color mappings can be interactively performed on screen with mouse and keyboard input by choosing an individual color for each object in a diagram. Objects are represented by character strings, including single letters and digits. Captured data is stored in a simple, XML based file. This file and any other associated resources are compressed and saved in an archive, following the .zip file format. Having collected graphemic data from multiple people, the simple file format makes it easy to further process the data for analytical studies. For example, external additional tools could be applied in order to automatically compute a statistic evaluation of the object-color mappings of a larger number of probationers, in order to reveal similarities and differences in their individual mappings. A typical result could be the finding that people who perceive the letter A in red color, tend to perceive the letter I in yellow or white color.

Comparing Representation of Selected Criteria of Order

The program also enables the user to graphically verify hypothetical inclinations of mappings. To achieve this goal, the program groups objects in tabbed panes, placed according to specific similarity criteria (cp. Fig. 1), for example by ordering capital letters and digits by their geometrical form, assuming a classical sans serif font for the notion of geometrical form of characters. Further criteria for ordering are imaginable, such as phonetic similarity of words or letters, similarity of muscles activated upon speaking (anatomic similarity), sorting of letters according to the order pupils learn them in school, or sorting of letters according to their frequency in natural language. The tabbed panes enable the user to directly visually compare and value such orderings and their correspondence to their individual object-color mappings. Moreover, by comparing the diagrams in the tabbed pane, the probationer can immediately recognize how far pure reordering of characters influences the colored perception of objects.

Alphabetic Order Geometric Order
Fig. 1: Object-Color Mappings based on Various Criteria of Ordering

Personally Colored Note Pad

The coloured notepad displays arbitrary texts according to the object-color mapping of characters. The text can be manually entered or cut-&-pasted into the pad, displayed, printed, or saved as image. This way, the characteristics of an individual person's graphemic synaesthesia can be nicely illustrated as well as used for validation of the user's specification of character-color mapping.

Note Pad
Fig. 2: Colored Note Pad

Miscelleanous Properties

The software also supports selecting the font and character size to be used for display, as well as the background color (cp. Fig. 3). Committing a change of such a property in one window immediately affects display in all other simultaneously opened windows.

Miscelleanous Properties
Fig. 3: Miscelleanous Properties

Current Limitations

Currently, the software supports only few forms of synaesthesia reaching beyond pure character-color mappings. Mappings from character strings to colors are partially supported. The set of missing features most notably contains multi-colored or textured objects; consideration of contextual influence of neighbouring colored objects (e.g. colored letters within a word); and objects beyond characters and strings. The supported set of colors currently is based on the standard RGB color model; transparent or metallic colors are not supported by now.

Advanced Description

A more detailed description of the software is currently not available. Still, most of the features built into the software should be self-explanatory. In case, somebody writes a more comprehensive documentation in an appropriate style, I will gladfully insert the documentation in this place.

Further Reading

The following references on synaesthesia may be interesting for the reader: Internet forum for synaesthetics and synaesthetic researchers Moderated mailing list for synaesthetics and synaesthetic researchers German society for Synaesthesia, founded in 2006 Swiss internet forum with synaesthetic test sensequence — a collection of mostly pictured descriptions of individual synaesthetic sensations