Surprising as it may seem, there are people who can smell seems, see smells or hear colors. Really, all of us, at some point in our lives, experienced this ability (some creators affirm that it is common in newborns). This phenomenon, called “synaesthesia” – from the Ancient greek “syn” (with) and “aisthesis” (sensation) – consists of the pairing of two body senses through which the thought of a identified stimulus activates a different subjective perception without any external stimulus (in technology, the evoker stimulus is named inducer and the additional experience concurrent).
Inside the department of Experimental Psychology and Physiology at the College of Granada, a research team is doing pioneer operate in Spain on the systematic research of synaesthesia and its relation with perception and feelings. Professor Juan Lupianez Castillo and Alicia Callejas Sevilla have dedicated many years to the study of this unknown but interesting sensation, which has an effect on approximately a single person out of every single thousand. Several of these people do not even know they are synaesthetes, because they think they perceive the globe normally.
Callejas’ doctorate thesis is probably the most comprehensive studies for this phenomenon with an international degree, and it is likely the first doctoral thesis about this topic in Europe. Her study handles the various forms of synaesthesia working on the most common 1: the grapheme-coloration type (for people who have this form of synaesthesia, letters, words and numbers evoke colors in an automatic and involuntary way).
One of the unique characteristics of this form of synaesthesia is the fact that individuals are certain about their perceptions: they believe that their method of experiencing the planet is appropriate, and they grow to be disappointed when they realize there exists something that is not really quite proper. ‘Therefore, whenever a person with grapheme-color synaesthesia indicates that the phrase table is blue, it is quite potential that if they ever views the same expression written in one other than azure, this expression will appear to him or her as wrong and consider it an error. The synaesthete might even point out that the phrase is unattractive or that he or she does not as if it because it is not correct,’ affirms Callejas. Consequently, seeking the word dinner table written in reddish might be annoying whereas seeing it in blue might be agreeable. This emotional response associated with how synaesthetes experience consistent or inconsistent stimuli is an extremely fascinating subject and contains been analyzed for the first time in this doctoral thesis.
Some of Callejas’ conclusions show these emotional reactions take place automatically and will not be dismissed. Moreover, they are able to affect the synaesthete to the point of slanting his or her personal preferences when faced with a number of stimuli which correspond to his / her inner experiences. Even more important is the fact that these emotions can transform how they perceive events linked to these encounters. These situations may have no emotional significance initially however they can become basically pleasant when they take place as well the synaesthete finds a word in the proper or inappropriate color.
‘Then, there are men and women for whom time units evoke colors – explains the researcher. Additionally it is common for a synaesthete to find out colors when listening to phrases, sounds generally or music notes (individuals who can see tunes, for instance). In addition there are cases, though fewer, exactly where people will see colors in flavors, other individuals perceive types or expertise touch feelings when listening to different noises, some website link flavors to touch feelings, etc.’
An long lasting vision
These researchers from Granada underline that synaesthetes always enjoy the same eyesight, synaesthesia is permanent (a particular stimulus usually evokes the identical color for just one person) and idiosyncratic (it really is different for each individual). Therefore, if for a synaesthete the word canine is reddish, every time they sees it, it will be regarded as red.
Though synaesthesia has become known for a long period, its technological study is relatively recent. Articles such as the Castel one, in which reference is produced to earlier studies regarding a synaesthesia scenario in a sightless person, are found in the 18th century. The evolution of the study of this phenomenon has been spectacular – the number of experts working on this topic is continually increasing, as will be noticeable in the Seminar which will occur in Granada – and, because the phase of proving that it phenomenon exists has been overcome, explains Alicia Callejas, ‘we are starting to approach queries of key theoretical significance, and to produce adequate examine strategies.’ The results of her analysis have been published in the pursuing prestigious scientific journals, among others: Cortex, Experimental Brain Research and Awareness and Cognition.
Nowadays, the investigation field will go from grapheme-shade synaesthesia with other forms in no way studied prior to: flavors evoked by songs or words and phrases (lexical-gustatory synaesthesia), space structures linked to time units, colours and songs, etc.