Society & Culture

Hearing Colors, Seeing Sounds: A Psychologist Explains ‘Synesthesia’

Agencies – Sudan Events 

Vincent van Gogh, Richard Feynman, Stevie Wonder. Each individual is renowned in their fields, having contributed to art and knowledge in remarkable ways. While each may seem far removed from one another, these individuals have something unique in common.

As van Gogh looked at artwork of his own and others, the visuals of brushstrokes evoked music in his ears. As Feynman developed fascinating equations in theoretical physics and quantum mechanics, he spoke of seeing the variables flying around in various colors. Despite being blind, Stevie Wonder speaks of music notes eliciting different colors in his mind’s eye.

This phenomenon—the blending of different senses—is known as “synesthesia,” and it is linked to high levels of intelligence and memory. While synesthesia was previously understood to be a perceptual phenomenon passed through genetics, newer research highlights that this experience can be acquired through training.

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon where the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in another. Research from Frontiers in Psychology highlights the vast heterogeneity of synesthetic experiences, ranging from auditory, tactile and visual stimuli triggering colors, shapes and even flavors.

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