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What is Synesthesia?

  • Broadcast in Psychology
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Hosted by Angela Eaton 

Tune in to this introductory show that is part of a brand new series on synesthesia.  Sean Day, Ph.D. will introduce us to synesthesia--a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an involuntary response of another sense, sometimes referred to as a "blending of the senses."  Find out why you may not have heard of synesthesia before, why many people who have synesthesia don't know that they do (and don't realize that others don't), and the positive and negative aspects that synesthetes may encounter on a daily basis.

Sean A. Day, Ph.D., a multiple synesthete himself, has interacted with and done ethnological study of other synesthetes for over 35 years.  He started The Synesthesia List, an international e-mail forum for synesthetes and researchers and assisted founding the American Synesthesia Association. 

 Synesthesia is an inherited condition which causes unusual perceptions or associations, triggered by everyday activities like reading, speaking, or eating. For example, synaesthetes might perceive colours when listening to music, or tastes in the mouth when reading words. Synaesthesia has been linked to differences in white/grey matter structure, and can involve direct sensory crossing (e.g., sound to vision), or can be mediated by higher level functions such as language. Her work examines the prevalence, cognition, perception, inheritence, neuroscience, aesthetics and history of synaesthesia. She also examines sensory integration in the general population, and how sensory perception influences language processing