WHAT IS SYNAESTHESIA


“The Art of Being a Synaesthete” is a documentary about genuine synaesthesia and creativity, and the special relationship that links both. Focusing and understanding why synaesthetes tend to be more creative than non-synaesthetes might give us cues and ideas to understand also the human craving for creation, and how creative thinking and innovation occur and as a ultimate question, what is creativity about?.

The aesthetic implications of the cognitive experience of synaesthesia make it specially prone to be related to creativity and, thus, art. It has been suggested that there is a higher prevalence of artistic professions among synaesthetes, and it seems that synaesthesia as a condition has had a particularly intense relationship with artistic expression. Either coming from the artistic manifestations of the condition itself by synaesthetes (such as Vladimir Nabokov or Wassily Kandinsky), or through the use of creative association and mixing of sensorial experiences and metaphor by artists, synaesthesia seems to have something important to say about the way we develop and manifest our creativity.


If you are any type of artist (musician, dancer, writer, painter, whatever you understand by artist) and you have synesthesia

and keep reading …

ON WHAT SYNAESTHESIA IS

In a highly technical way…

Synesthesia is a largely unknown but rather common neurological condition presented as an abnormal coordination of several senses: synesthetes can experience typical sensory information from one sensory modality simultaneously through another modality. The stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

Synaesthesia is automatic and involuntary experience, thought to be prevalent in about 1 in 23 people across its range of variants. It has a strong familial influence, but is also sometimes reported by individuals under the influence of psychedelic drugs, after a stroke, during a temporal lobe epilepsy seizure, or as a result of blindness or deafness (adventitious synaesthesia).

Psychologists and neuroscientists study synaesthesia also for insights it provides into cognitive and perceptual processes that occur in synesthetes and non-synesthetes alike. Although there are some more common synaesthesia experiences, the expression of synaesthesia is very diverse, and difficult to constraint to the most common traditional physical sense.

ON WHAT WILL BE DONE

Scientists suspect that creativity might also be enhanced in synaesthetes. In fact, some studies reported far higher scores in creative thinking test for synesthetes as compared to non synaesthetes. And it seems pretty easy to find synaesthetes among artistic and creative professions.

The aesthetic implications of the cognitive experience of synaesthesia makes it specially prone to be related to creativity and, thus, art. It has been suggested that there is a higher prevalence of artistic professions among synaesthetes. Although that is not totally accepted, synaesthesia as a condition has had a particularly intense relationship with artistic expression. Either coming from the artistic manifestations of the condition itself by synaesthetes (such as Vladimir Nabokov or Wassily Kandinsky), or through the use of creative association and mixing of sensorial experiences and metaphor by artists, synaesthesia seems to have something to say about the way we develop and manifest our creativity.

If creativity is related to capacity to combine and associate ideas in a novel way, and synaesthesia is likely to based on an increased neurological connectivity between areas, it is reasonable to consider that there is a relationship between these two facts. Could it be that connectivity, when crosstalk between brain areas is enhanced, creativity emerges naturally as a consequence of that crosstalk? Or “furthermore”, could creativity be considered the behavioral phenotype of enhanced crosstalk between certain functions in the brain?

The idea that we are pursuing can be summarized like this: the mechanism that triggers synaesthesia might tell us something important about the way we people create.

Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia — meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of “Born on a Blue Day,” Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind.

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