Synesthesia Essay

1322 Words Apr 2nd, 2006 6 Pages
Synesthesia:
What We Know and Don't Know

How many of us know what synesthesia is? What do we eat it with? How is it used or what is it used with. Well let me just tell you that synesthesia is a condition in which people have difficulty distinguishing between various sensory inputs. Synesthesia comes from two Greek words, syn, which means together, and aesthesis, which means perception. Therefore synesthesia literally means, "Joined perception." "Synesthesia is an involuntary joining in which the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense."(web.mit.edu) In addition to being involuntary, this additional perception is regarded by the synesthete as real, often outside the body, instead of imagined
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Not even agrees on these standards, but hey provide a starting point for diagnosis. According to Cytowic, synesthetic perceptions are:
• Involuntary: synesthetes do not actively think about their perceptions; they just happen.
• Projected: rather than experiencing something in the "mind's eye," as might happen when you are asked to imagine a color a synesthete often actually sees a color projected outside of the body.
• Durable and generic; the perception must be the same every time; for example, if you taste chocolate when you hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto, you must always taste chocolate when you hear it; also the perception must be generic—that is, you may see colors or lines or shapes in response to a certain smell, but you would not see something complex such as a room with people and furniture and pictures on the wall.
• Memorable: often, the secondary synesthetic perception is remembered better than the primary perception; for example. A synesthete who always associates the color purple with the name "Mayra" will often remember that a woman's name is purple rather than actually remembering "Mayra." (wearcam.org)
Synesthetic perceptions are specific to each person. Different people with synesthesia almost always disagree on their perceptions. For example, if one synesthete perceives that the letter "r" is colored yellow, another synesthete might see "r" as green. Well then, is just anyone that thinks they might have synesthesia have it? There are many

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