What Luria Never Told

Richard E. Cytowic MD p00907 at psilink.com
Fri Oct 15 19:27:58 EST 1993

	Regarding Synesthesia, Jason Becker writes:
>The classic description of this phenomenon of course is by A.R.
>Luria in THE MIND OF A MNEMONIST in which he describes the
>synesthesia experienced by S. Fascinating reading!

    I'm not sure I would cite Luria as a pioneer in synesthesia, since he
described it only in passing in S's case, and unfortunately ventured no
explanation. The literature does go back 200  years in both medicine and
psychology. Still, Luria is probably reponsible for modern people even
knowing the word, and for that, I am thankful.

Luria's description of S suggested to me the link between synesthesia
and hypermnesis. S's synesthesiae were PART of both his perception and
his later recollection. 

Indeed, it was only because of Luria's book that I knew of synesthesia.
Michael Watson, "The Man Who Tasted Shapes" of my book's title started
the whole adventure rolling when he delayed his dinner guests with the
apology that, "There aren't enough points on the chicken!" Others
thought this was just silly artist talk; I probed and ended up studying
synesthesia for more than a decade. It's been fun.

Richard E. Cytowic, MD / Washington DC

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