Synesthetic tastes tend to be triggered by the corresponding food-name (e.g., for synesthete JIW, the word 'mince' triggers the taste of mince) as well as by words that share phonemes (i.e., speech sounds) with that food-name (e.g., 'prince', 'cinema'). Careful analyses show that each taste can be traced to a set of critical phonemes (e.g., /I/ & /n/ & /s/ for JIW's taste of mince). Other tastes, though, have less obvious roots (e.g., /f/ triggers sherbet for JIW). To demonstrate that tastes tend to be unrelated to spellings, Ward and Simner showed that, for JIW, the taste of egg is associated to the phoneme /k/, whether spelled with a c (e.g., accept), k (e.g., York), ck (e.g., chuck) or x (e.g., fax). Another source of tastes comes from semantic influences, so for example, the word "blue" might taste "inky". Recent work shows that merely thinking about the trigger word can cause the synesthetic taste sensation. Simner and Ward (2006) showed that tastes are experienced when synaesthetes are in a tip-of-tongue for the triggering word.
The Lexical Bias Effect in Bilingual Speech Production: Evidence for Feedback between Lexical and Sublexical Levels across Languages
Dec 01, 2006; The lexical bias effect (LBE) is the tendency for phonological substitution errors to result in existing words (rather...