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This is a link to the transcript of a Catalyst Report which is about the Synaesthesia. This use of the term Synaesthesia is basically the same concept that NLP has had from many years ealier. See our previous article on Synaesthesia to understand a little more about the concept from both an NLP perspective, and also from other research teams in Sydney.
The interest in this documentary is mainstream research of synaesthesia going on in Australia. The researchers also propose that synaesthetes have extra brain regions devoted to colour imagery. I am not sure if they are getting their information from fMRI scans or similar, or experience with their studies. I do wonder how they would cope with the knowledge that the average NLP Practitioner that often overlaps representations to see if we can give the client more choice.
From the Catalyst Report (ABC) on Synaesthesia:
Around 10,000 Australians have this condition, where the five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch – are mingled in some way….. It’s early days yet but already the researchers have found that people with synaesthesia do seem to use their brains differently and this can actually help them in certain tasks. For example, it seems a surprisingly large number of synaesthetes are artists…Jennifer and Catherine are…and a tantalising theory is… the reason for that is that synaesthetes have extra brain regions devoted to colour imagery.
Unravelling the secrets of synaesthesia could even ultimately advance medical science, by revealing how the brain puts the information from the senses together in all of us. But in the meantime the goal is to find an explanation for Jennifer and Catherine’s colourful world. A world that really makes you think you’re missing out on something here….
Sources for this story
- Anina Rich, PhD Student in Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne
- Dr Jason Mattingley, Research Fellow in Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne
- Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Behavioural Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
See also TIME Magazine which is of interest, where entertainment is pushing the boundaries and combining two senses in the one event – Opera 2.0
where audience members listen to and smell “Green Aria,” described by its writer and director Stewart Matthew as a “scent opera” at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain.
The Synaesthetic Phenomenon Excerpt… When we speak of various types of communication that are perceived through the combination of two or more senses and are integrated and focused at the level of meaning, we are, of course, speaking about the phenomenon that goes under the name of synaesthesia. Grosso modo, synaesthesia is a kind of intertransposition based on the interaction of the sensory experience during the act of perception. As such, it belongs to the realm of metaphor. Yet it can be considered more than a simple metaphor.
Surrounding the wheel, from the king’s right to his left, at the points where the spokes connect to the rim, are five animals: a spider in its web, a eagle or vulture, a monkey, a cock, and a boar. According to a passage from De rerum natura by Thomas of Cantimpré, each of the five animals represents a sense18. Now for our purpose, this painting may be considered as the first known visual representation19 of the connections among the five senses, both in relation to the sense of touch (scholastically understood as the most important sense, in that it is the foundation of all senses and the closest “to the fontal root”, that is common sense)20 and in relation to the king, who may be considered to represent man’s ratio.
Below are two links to videos of a presentation which is about the Synaesthesia. This use of the term Synaesthesia is basically the same concept that NLP has had from many years ealier. In NLP, the phenomenon of “overlap” has many applications, but specifically it is where we are either as a practitioner observing a synaesthesia, bringing awareness of the synaesthesia to client to, or undoing the connections between the senses. We can “overlap” an image and a sound or feeling together, for example. In the broad sense, a synaesthesia can be useful for the client or it can be limiting the client’s choices.
As the phenomenon of overlap demonstrates, not all of our mental experiences are clearly distinguishable in terms of the five senses. Sometimes experiences become connected and overlapped so completely that it is not possible to easily distinguish one from the other.
In NLP, this connection is called a synaesthesia, and the term means “a synthesizing of the senses.” Synaesthesias are usually more than perceiving something through a single sense alone. Some artists increase the richness of their visual experience and some record memory with colours assoicated that help them recall or associate the memory with another aspect of the experience.
The interest in this presentation is that it demonstrates some of the mainstream research into ‘natural’ synaesthesia’s that have been observed in humans and how science is measuring trends and liklehoods of the types of connections that occur.
Synesthesia: Hearing colours, tasting sounds. David Eagleman, July 2009
Imagine a world of magenta Tuesdays, tastes of blue, and symphonies seen as well as heard. At least one in a hundred otherwise normal people experience the world this way in a condition called synesthesia, in which stimulation of one sense triggers an experience in a different sense. Synesthesia is a fusion of different sensory perceptions, though most synesthetes are unaware their experiences are in any way unusual.
Synesthesia is far more important scientifically than a mere curiosity. In this CHAST lecture at the University of Sydney, world authority David Eagleman explains its wild variety of forms, and shows how his laboratory studies these experiences in the brain, using tools from genetics to advanced neuroimaging.
Videos of the presentation
Video – Synesthesia: Hearing colours, tasting sounds (Part 1) Duration: 23m 38s
Video – Synesthesia: Hearing colours, tasting sounds (Part 2) Duration: 26m 15s
Source: CHAST, University of Sydney