Synesthesia: Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes

Richard E. Cytowic MD p00907 at psilink.com
Mon Oct 11 22:54:37 EST 1993


     Some people say they "see red" when angry, or they talk about "sharp"
cheese or "cool" jazz. But do you see pink triangles on hearing music,
or feel yourself on a prickly bed of nails when eating cherry pie? Do
ordinary words, names, and voices have specific colors, peculiar
shapes--even distinctive flavors?

     If this sounds perfectly normal, then you are one of a handful of
individuals with synesthesia, the cross-wiring of the senses that is
experienced not as imagination, but as an external and involuntary
sensation.

     What is Real? What is normal? Why are we so often pressured to reject
our own experience in favor of external measures that are supposedly
"objective?" These and many more questions are pondered in the first
book in English about this captivating topic by an internationally 
recognized neurologist who has studied these rare individuals around 
the world for more than a decade.

        *****************************************************
        "The Man Who Tasted Shapes: A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers
        Revolutionary Insights into Emotions, Reasoning, and
        Consciousness" (Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam, 252 pp. Aug '93)
        ******************************************************

     A chance encouter at a dinner party led a curious neurologist to crack
the age-old mystery of a neurological curiosity. But more intriguing
than its scientific explanation are the implications of synesthesia for
the rest of us. These include intriguing conclusions about the nature of
reason and emotion, insights into current brain models, and exicting
speculations about this last great frontier of knowledge. 

Richard E. Cytowic, MD / President, Capitol Neurology / Washington DC



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