Synesthesia

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I was recently reading an article about a psychological phenomenon called "synesthesia". Webster's Dictionary defines synesthesia as "the production of a mental sense-impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense." It's 2 different sensations being produced from one sensory stimulus. An example of this phenomenon that caught my eye was "Grapheme - Color Synesthesia", defined as a form of synesthesia in which an individual's perception of numbers and letters is associated with the experience of colors. For example, in the word "synesthesia", the S's are purple, the Y is dark green, the N is blue, etc. What kindled my curiosity of this subject was an article I read about Cassidy Curtis. Cassidy, it was described in the article, had an "implicit sense of a relationship between letters and colors." She described she was somewhat "aware" of a word's color and the color of its component letters. The effect was described to be a visual stimulation in hue was associated with letters or numbers. It was completely involuntary. I found this concept very interesting because I wanted to find out what neurological process yielded this process. One of the factors that makes it so interesting is how it interacts with memory and attention. People with this affliction can look at a block of colors and determine, to some extent, what the word may be. What makes it so interesting is that Synesthetes often report that they were unaware that their experiences were unusual until they realized other people did not have them. In our Psych textbook and discussion sections we explored the different stages of perception. Condensing the concept it looks like this: Event => Sensation => Transduction => Perception. In discussion we discussed different events and how they travel along this path. In the case of synesthesia the neural message is changed in the transduction stage, where sensory stimuli are integrated. Research from cases like Cassidy's have led to the development of technologies intended to improve the retention and memory of graphemes by individuals, like most of us, without synesthesia.

Article used: http://otherthings.com/uw/syn/

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This page contains a single entry by deval011 published on October 9, 2011 3:30 PM.

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