Some people claim to experience a bitter taste whenever they touch a certain texture; others claim to see 5s
as red even when the numbers are printed in black ink. These are forms of synesthesia, a condition many
scientists have long considered fakery. To determine whether an effect is faked or truly perceptual, psychologists
often use a test called pop-out. If someone looks at a set of tilted lines scattered amid vertical ones, the tilted lines
pop out. Similarly, if most of a background’s elements are green dots, and someone is told to look for red targets,
the red pops out. On the other hand, a set of black 2s scattered among black 5s almost blends in.
Recently, researchers used a pop-out test to determine whether synesthesia is truly perceptual. Subjects claiming
to experience red whenever they see a black 5 and green with every black 2 were given the following test. Several
black 2s were arranged to form a triangle among a field of black 5s. In cases where the synesthesia is genuinely
perceptual, subjectsshould easily see the triangle, because for them the numbers would have different colors. The
synesthetes, unlike nonsynesthetes, correctly identified the triangular shape 90 percent of the time (just as
nonsynesthetes do when the numbers actually have different colors). This suggests that the induced colors are
Based on the passage, on which of the following pop-out tests would synesthetes of the type mentioned in the second
paragraph be most likely to perform better, on average, than people without synesthesia?
A. Subjects are shown a set of red 5s in the shape of a triangle among a field of green 2s and asked to identify the
shape the 5s form.
B. Subjects are shown a set of black 5s in the shape of a rectangle among a field of red 2s and asked to identify the
shape the 5s form.
C. Subjects are shown a set of black 5s randomly scattered among a field of black 2s and asked to identify as many
5s as they can in ten seconds.
D. Subjects are shown a set of black 5s in the shape of a triangle among a set of black vertical lines and asked to
identify the shape the 5s make.
E. Subjects are shown a set of red targets randomly scattered among a field of green dots and asked to find as many
red targets as they can in ten seconds.
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