Synesthesia: Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience by Lynn C. Robertson, Noam Sagiv

By Lynn C. Robertson, Noam Sagiv

Due to its strange nature and its implications for knowing how brains paintings, synesthesia has lately got loads of awareness within the renowned press and inspired loads of learn and dialogue between scientists. The questions generated by means of those groups are fascinating: Does the synesthetic phenomenon require expertise and a focus? How does a characteristic that isn't current develop into certain to one who is? Does synesthesia enhance or is it challenging stressed out? should still it switch our mind set approximately perceptual event ordinarily? what's its worth in knowing perceptual platforms as a whole?

This quantity brings jointly a distinct staff of investigators from various backgrounds--among them neuroscientists, novelists, and synesthetes themselves--who supply attention-grabbing solutions to those questions. even if each one methods synesthesia from a truly assorted point of view, and every used to be eager about and investigated synesthesia for terribly various purposes, the similarities among their paintings can't be overlooked. The examine provided during this quantity demonstrates that it truly is not average to invite even if synesthesia is real--we needs to now ask how we will account for it from cognitive, neurobiological, developmental, and evolutionary views. This ebook may be vital interpreting for any scientist attracted to mind and brain, let alone synesthetes themselves, and others who should be puzzling over what the entire fuss is set.

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Beyond this, synesthesia does not add to the range of sensory perception. That is, for example, whereas a normal perceiver cannot see into the ultraviolet spectrum, neither can a synesthete. Whereas a normal person cannot hear ultra-high frequencies that a bat hears, neither can a synesthete. The ranges are not different, nor are they increased. Instead, synesthesia combines sensory experiences. Normal perceivers, for example, see colors; they also hear music. I see colors. I hear music. I also see colors when I hear music.

The upshot of the issue is that I do not have synesthesia for individual notes except to the extent that I think of their letter names, which I would regard as color-letter synesthesia rather than color-pitch synesthesia. I do, however, have color associations with the chord types. In one sense, the chords are their own auditory colors, and musicians use the term "chromatic" in a sense close to this. Chords and the transitions between them seem highly chromatic, in the sense of evoking strong sensations that seem very different from each other along many perceptual dimensions.

One form that interested me in the 1960s (when the Beatles went to an Indian ashram), was the idea of meditating by trying to look out through the third eye, conceptualized as being in the center of the forehead. The aim was to explore the experience of meditation per se, rather than with any religious goal in mind. I sat cross-legged on a bed to try this, in the amateur lotus position with eyes closed. As I elevated my attention in the attempt to direct my gaze out through my forehead, I began to see a strong golden glow appear in the distance of my dark image space.

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