HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » Synaesthesia and savant s...

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 05:30 AM

Synaesthesia and savant syndrome: are we all superhuman?

Richard Feynman, Vladimir Nabokov, David Hockney. What do these famous figures have in common? They are all synaesthetes. Feynman and Nabokov linked letters and numbers to colours, while Hockney perceives music in terms of colour and shape. Synaesthesia is condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive stream somehow interacts with another sensory or cognitive stream in a way that it normally would not.

While most cases of synaesthesia are developmental and hereditary, it can be acquired later in life as a result of, for example, traumatic brain injury. Far from being disabling or disadvantageous, many people with synaesthesia have reported that these phenomena simply form a part of everyday life or even confer unexpected benefits.


One of the first cases studied at the St Louis Synesthesia Lab was that of Jason Padgett. He was working as a salesperson in a furniture store in 2002 when he was beaten up and suffered injuries to the head. He fell unconscious and his muggers continued to beat him.

"After the attack, Jason was able to see things in terms of mathematics," said Professor Brogaard. "Looking at moving or static objects, he would see complex geometrical shapes and figures with fragmented boundaries. He started drawing some of the things he was seeing and since then hes won several prizes for his artwork.



?566

Prime number vectors by Jason Padgett


Read more: http://www.scienceomega.com/article/678/synaesthesia-and-savant-syndrome-are-we-all-superhuman#ixzz2BFSnkGsP

18 replies, 2956 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 05:39 AM

1. Some of us just have crossed wires

Smells have textures and colors, sounds form geometric, colored patterns, and I get nothing particularly special from it.

Well, I can smell when deer are in my yard. They smell like yellow moss, if you're wondering.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Scootaloo (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 05:49 AM

2. I can smell a bullshiter through my TV

Its a pungent odor of discarded feces

Usually the guy or gal is republican or a fox news host..... LOL


Anyway

I didn't know about Feyman and the other artist is the article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:00 AM

3. "Discarded feces"?

I always thought they kept the damn things, tell you the truth!

I'd rather smell the deer

Just another way Richard Feynman is awesome.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:00 AM

4. Interesting subjects

I recall a tv documentary here in the UK on the subject of Synaesthesia . If you search BBC Horizon Synaesthesia you should find some video links watchable outside for the UK - not all BBC links are so.

Apparently at birth all of our senses are connected : they start to separate some months later. With some there is no complete and final separation.

On the subject of Savants the easiest ones to search for Daniel Tammet, who is a maths genius, and Stephen Wiltshire whose eyes act almost a camera would. I think the complete BBC series may be called Beautiful Minds

Daniel here :



and Stephen here :

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:34 AM

5. I'm a synesthete and have been all my life. I did't know that there was a name for it until about

five years ago. I believe there are alot more of us who are synesthetes than we know.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ecumenist (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 11:40 PM

11. Same here, I think we're everywhere

I remember reading an alarmist article about LSD when I was a kid that cited people saying they could see music and hear colors and I wondered what the big deal was there, I'd been doing that all my life.

It would be nice if we could agree on what color E flat was, but it doesn't work like that. No two of us will ever agree on things like that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 01:05 AM

12. EXACTLY Warpy....Exactly. NO BIG DEAL! lol! I know. My synesthia is with Music, Taste and smell.

I have ALWAYS been able to see music. Songs are like "TEMPLATES" to me and I have always been able play anythiing I hear, (see) by filling in the template.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:42 AM

6. Fascinating subject

I have a little understanding of these abilities. Just as I associate certain smells with certain people, I also imagine songs for certain people when I see them. I don't actually hear the songs out loud; I hear them in my head. Sometimes it's not an entire song. It might just be a guitar riff or a few beats of a drum. It happens when I see posts by some DUers, too. I think it might have something to do with watching cartoons and other shows when I was a kid. It's like the little theme songs they play when certain characters appear.

The example of the blind man who uses echo-location is amazing, especially since he's been able to teach five other people how to have it. Just think if we were able to teach it to all blind people! Humanity could reap huge benefits from further study of these people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 04:13 PM

9. its nice to know there are others who do that. It can feel very weird in a world where things aren't

perceived the same as others.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to roguevalley (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:48 PM

17. That's one of the things I love the most about the internet.

You can always find people you have something in common with, no matter what it is. You might never meet such a person in your everyday life, especially if you live in a small town like I do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 06:45 AM

7. My cousin's son is a savant

Sadly he is also extremely autistic.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Marrah_G (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 03:34 AM

13. What is fascinating to me are the stories of people

with horrific brain injuries who developed savant-like abilities afterward. I took care of one years ago, a blue collar guy who survived a massive bleed and turned into a math genius. It seems for most of us, our brains get in their own way when it comes to that sort of wild talent. We might all have latent abilities waiting for brain insult to come out.

There are also experiments using external electrical stimulation of various parts of the brain that seem to provide learning and ability shortcuts. Now that's wild.

I've often speculated Mozart was an Aspie who lucked out by being born into a musical family. His lack of ability to read emotional cues and behave himself as a proper servant would seem to bear this out.

Not all Aspies develop wild skills and not all brain injuries produce genius. It's just amazing to me when they do.

We're in the infancy of figuring some of this stuff out.

(Neurology was my favorite specialty, can you tell?)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #13)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 09:19 AM

14. Here is an interesting ancedote for you

I know just two families with autistic children. (not aspbergers, but autism itself)

One is my cousin who has quadruplets. He has Fraternal twin girls and Identical twin boys. The boys are autistic the girls are not. One boy is has a much more serious case of autism then the other. He doesn't connect with the world around him much.

The second family is my best friend. She has Identical twin girls. Both autistic, one more severe case then the other.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 11:03 AM

8. I had an attack of synesthesia during a bout of the flu ...

very disorienting. Sounds had a color and shape associated with them. Fortunately didn't need to leave the apt. until I got over it. Wouldn't like to deal with it all the time.

Interesting read -- "Mind of a Mnemonist", by A. R. Luria. Subject adapted to synesthesia and used it to reinforce his powers of memory.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 05:37 PM

10. It can't be that uncommon?

I do this with lots of things, music in particular, almost always evokes tastes and colors for me. It doesn't really help me with anything that I can think of.

The strangest connection I have? Clarinet music sounds like plaid to me. It is the only instrument that doesn't have a regular old color. o.O

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 10:39 AM

15. I can't remember when I've read a thread that I enjoyed as much as this one here

For that I want to thank all of you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 03:24 PM

18. Yes, and I had identified the people who have posted in this thread as standouts before

Not in specific areas, though I do value intelligence, creativity and humor. Interesting, though I don't have this ability myself.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 11:06 AM

16. RadioLab did a great show on this last year. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread