Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses

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MIT Press, 2002 - Medical - 394 pages
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For decades, scientists who heard about synesthesia hearing colors, tasting words, seeing colored pain just shrugged their shoulders or rolled their eyes. Now, as irrefutable evidence mounts that some healthy brains really do this, we are forced to ask how this squares with some cherished conceptions of neuroscience. These include binding, modularity, functionalism, blindsight, and consciousness. The good news is that when old theoretical structures fall, new light may flood in. Far from a mere curiosity, synesthesia illuminates a wide swath of mental life.In this classic text, Richard Cytowic quickly disposes of earlier criticisms that the phenomenon cannot be "real," demonstrating that it is indeed brain-based. Following a historical introduction, he lays out the phenomenology of synesthesia in detail and gives criteria for clinical diagnosis and an objective "test of genuineness." He reviews theories and experimental procedures to localize the plausible level of the neuraxis at which synesthesia operates. In a discussion of brain development and neural plasticity, he addresses the possible ubiquity of neonatal synesthesia, the construction of metaphor, and whether everyone is unconsciously synesthetic. In the closing chapters, Cytowic considers synesthetes' personalities, the apparent frequency of the trait among artists, and the subjective and illusory nature of what we take to be objective reality, particularly in the visual realm.The second edition has been extensively revised, reflecting the recent flood of interest in synesthesia and new knowledge of human brain function and development. More than two-thirds of the material is new.

  

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Review: Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses

User Review  - Joe Upshaw - Goodreads

I've always been interested in cognition and perception. I have a few synesthetic quirks myself and so, was interested in learning more. Read full review

Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Synesthetes Speak for Themselves
13
A Review and a New Proposal
61
4 Overlaps and Evidence for Localization
99
5 Spatial Extension
169
6 The Neural Substrate of Synesthesia
207
7 Developmental Issues
271
8 Synesthesia Personality and Art
295
9 Seeing Reality
321
Afterword
351
References
353
Appendix
385
Index
389
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., founded Capitol Neurology, a private clinic in Washington, D.C., and teaches at George Washington University Medical Center. He is the author of "Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses" and "The Man Who Tasted Shapes, " both published by the MIT Press.

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