Synesthesia


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synesthesia

[‚sin·əs′thēzh·ə]
(psychology)
The condition in which a sensory experience normally associated with one sensory system occurs when another sensory system is stimulated.

Synesthesia

 

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.

REFERENCES

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.

A. A. PUZYREI

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