Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

General Honors



First Advisor

Brian Talbot

Second Advisor

Paul R. Strom

Third Advisor

Dominic Bailey

Fourth Advisor

Lewis Harvey Jr.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Synesthesia is a phenomenal experience where a person reports more than one sensory experience activated for one stimulus. A specific type of interest is grapheme-color synesthesia where a person sees graphemes (letters and numbers) and it elicits a secondary response (color). It is through these experiences that people with grapheme-color synesthesia are given a secondary benefit: enhanced learning and memory. If people in society seek to equip children with the tools they need to succeed and excel in development, and synesthesia is a tool that helps with that, it would be logical to consider synesthesia as an intervention to increase children’s access to enhanced learning and memory. However, in order to assess whether it should be considered for inducement, synesthesia must be evaluated in isolation of its instrumental benefits. This thesis outlines the intrinsic values of synesthesia, the instrumental values, and the applications to children before weighing whether inducement is permissible. Synesthesia is argued to be intrinsically neutral by balancing the positive and negative attributes including their respective counterarguments. Afterwards, instrumental advantages and disadvantages are weighed, and counterarguments are provided to keep a balanced review. Finally, the costs and benefits of synesthesia in the realm of learning and memory are scaled to determine whether induced synesthesia is permissible. This thesis concludes, that in order to permit induced synesthesia, the data must be valid and replicable in order to accurately predict and achieve the correct type of synesthesia and reduce creating more harm than good; therefore, induced synesthesia is not permissible.