The Man Who Tasted Shapes

Front Cover
Paw Prints, Nov 11, 2008 - Medical - 268 pages
25 Reviews
Richard Cytowic's dinner host apologized, "There aren't enough points on the chicken!" He felt flavor also as a physical shape in his hands, and the chicken had come out "too round." This offbeat comment in 1980 launched Cytowic's exploration into the oddity called synesthesia. He is one of the few world authorities on the subject.

Sharing a root with anesthesia ("no sensation"), synesthesia means "joined sensation," whereby a voice, for example, is not only heard but also seen, felt, or tasted. The trait is involuntary, hereditary, and fairly common. It stayed a scientific mystery for two centuries until Cytowic's original experiments led to a neurological explanation—and to a new concept of brain organization that accentuates emotion over reason.

That chicken dinner two decades ago led Cytowic to explore a deeper reality that, he argues, exists in everyone but is often just below the surface of awareness (which is why finding meaning in our lives can be elusive). In this medical detective adventure, Cytowic shows how synesthesia, far from being a mere curiosity, illuminates a wide swath of mental life and leads to a new view of what is means to be human—a view that turns upside down conventional ideas about reason, emotional knowledge, and self-understanding.

This 2003 edition features a new afterword.

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Review: The Man Who Tasted Shapes

User Review  - Andrea Hickman Walker - Goodreads

This is rather out of date, which is a pity, because it's fascinating. I'd like to know more about where neurology, psychiatry and psychology are with regards to synesthesia at the moment. I've always ... Read full review

Review: The Man Who Tasted Shapes

User Review  - Sam - Goodreads

I read this book to learn more about synesthesia as I have it myself. I did learn more about it, but through this book I also learnt more about perception as a whole. I personally like that the author ... Read full review

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