Synesthesia is an abnormal ability to mix sensory experiences. For example
one could taste colors, feel sounds, or the most common is to hear colors.
Most neuroscientists disregard this as a real phenomenon, writing it off
as an overactive imagination. This is in spite of the fact that Synesthesia
runs in families and most likely has a genetic component. However, there
is a growing theory that all five senses are normally mixed together in
one stage of processing.
Now Jeffrey A. Gray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London and his colleagues
have physical evidence that Synesthesia does take place in the brain.
The researchers took 13 women who saw colored patterns when people spoke,
and 28 women that had no such experiences. Then using magnetic resonance
imaging they measured the blood flow to different parts of the brain as
a set of words were spoken. When the results were in, all 13 woman with
Synesthesia showed pronounced activity in the part of the visual system
known to orchestrate color identification. None of the 28 woman in the
control group showed this brain activity.
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