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Synesthesia Revisited: What’s the Word I’m Looking For?

In a previous post of mine I mentioned the intriguing and perplexing condition of synesthesia, noting that it only affects a very tiny portion of the total population.  Nonetheless, much to my surprise it has been brought to my attention that we are all synesthetes to one degree or another.  In fact, it makes quite a bit of sense (of course, only after reading a well-enunciated opinion from an authoritative source): our brains have a tendency to fuse neurological stimuli of different sorts in order to help us process multiple sources of information simultaneously…

There is a very interesting article posted here that makes this curious assertion, based on a series of clever research efforts that helped bring out the synesthete in the common man (or woman).  You can submit yourself to the research tests at the site and see for yourself just how much your brain bundles different sensory stimuli.

In a brilliant move, one of the head researchers recruited a world-class chef to put some of the basic ideas garnered through the research activities to the test.  Imitating the classic experiments of psychologist Wolfgang Kohler – with a touch of creative license – it appears that most people associate certain flavors with certain words/sounds.  The results: brie chesse is decidedly “maluma” and cranberries, “takete.”  You’ll have to visit the link above to figure that one out…

It seems that the days of stigmatizing synesthetes are coming to an end; if anything, it would appear that they got a bit too much of a good thing, and don’t suffer a “defect” as has historically been thought of them.  Although, it should be noted, in extreme cases of synesthesia the subject may complain that the constant sensory overload becomes quite overwhelming.