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The condition in which a sensory experience normally associated with one sensory system occurs when another sensory system is stimulated.



a phenomenon of perception, in which the impression corresponding to a given stimulus and specific to a given sensory organ is accompanied by an additional sensation or image, often one characteristic of another sensory mode. Typical examples of synesthesia are “color hearing” and aural experiences upon perceiving color. Synesthesia in no way indicates a perception disorder; the experience occurs in one form or other and to some degree in almost everybody. The types of synesthesia are differentiated primarily by the nature of the additional sensations that arise: visual (photisms), aural (phon-isms), gustatory, tactile, and so on. Synesthesia may be selective, affecting only individual impressions, or it may affect all sensations in some area.

A characteristic example of synesthesia is the perception of music by certain composers. It was such synesthetic perceptions that led Scriabin to the concept of “synthetic art,” in which musical tonalities would correspond to certain colors, for example, in the symphonic poem Prometheus: the Poem of Fire (1910). Synesthetic experiences are not identical for all people; for example, various color representations may be linked with a single tonality. The phenomenon of synesthesia is found in the “colored” experience of numbers, days of the week, and so on. There is no satisfactory theory of synesthesia.


Titchener, E. B. Uchebnik psikhologii, part 1. Moscow, 1914. Pages 162–65.
Kravkov, S. V. Vzaimodeistvie organov chuvstv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Luriia, A. R. Malen’kaia knizhka o bol’shoi pamiati. Moscow, 1968. Pages 15–19.
Velichkovskii, B. M., V. P. Zinchenko, and A. R. Luriia. Psikhologiia vospriiatiia. Moscow, 1973. Pages 54–58.


References in periodicals archive ?
For each synaesthete, the correspondence between response set and colors was adapted following Tables 1 and 2.
In fact, the vast majority of synaesthetes couldn't imagine life without it.
A quarter of all synaesthetes also have a close relative with the condition.
They are studying 500 synaesthetes from 73 families worldwide including Wales.
Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, claimed he could see letters in colours (something he called a ``freakish gift'') and other synaesthetes included the poet, Rimbaud, the composer, Liszt, and the jazz musician, Miles Davis.
I tracked down a UK team of doctors specialising in the study of synaesthetes, and in 2008 I was diagnosed with mirror-touch.
Among the best known synaesthetes are the painter David Hockney and the novelist VladimirNabok ov.