ISBN-10:
0262032961
ISBN-13:
9780262032964
Pub. Date:
06/01/2002
Publisher:
MIT Press
Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses / Edition 2

Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses / Edition 2

by Richard E. Cytowic

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262032964
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 06/01/2002
Series: Bradford Books Series
Edition description: second edition
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author


Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., MFA, a pioneering researcher in synesthesia, is Professor of Neurology at George Washington University. He is the author of Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses, The Man Who Tasted Shapes, The Neurological Side of Neuropsychology and (with David M. Eagleman) the Montaigne Medal–winner Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, all published by the MIT Press.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1.- Historical Background.- How This Work Got Started.- Criticism of Experiential Responses.- The Ghost in the Machine.- How Does Mind Arise from Matter?.- How Materialism Transcends Itself.- Synesthetes as Cognitive Fossils.- 2 Synesthetes Speak for Themselves 23.- Synesthetes Speak for Themselves.- Similarity of Stories.- Range of Synesthetic Performance.- Synesthesia as an Unelaborated Percept.- Validity, Constancy, and Limits to Manipulation of the Parallel Sense.- Psychological Influence and Stigma.- What Is Synesthesia Good for?.- Familial Cases.- 3 Theories of Synesthesia: A Review and a New Proposal 61.- Diagnostic Criteria for Synesthesia.- What and Where is the Link?.- Theories of the Mechanism of Synesthesia.- Proposal for a Synesthetic Mediator.- Operationalizing the Theories of Synesthesia.- 4 Overlaps: To What Is Synesthesia Similar? 91.- Phenomena Similar to Synesthesia.- Supporting Evidence for Anatomical Localization.- A Disconnection Syndrome for Synesthesia: Analogy to Migraine Theory.- Relation of Synesthetic Perceptions to Klüver’s Form Constants.- Conclusion.- 5 The Neural Substrates of Synesthesia.- Conceptualization of Neural Tissue.- Achromatopsia.- Knowing and the Limbic System.- The Triune Brain.- Conclusion.- 6 Synesthesia and Language.- The Semantic Differential.- Language and Cross-Modal Associations.- Synesthesia as a Disconnection.- Language and Consciousness.- Language and Electrical Stimulation of the Brain.- 7 Synesthesia and Personality.- Number Forms.- Synesthetic Forms.- Psychological Parameters of Synesthetes.- Family Cases (Pedigrees).- Clairvoyance and Other Unusual Experiences.- 8 Synesthesia and Art.- Geometry, Color, and Form.- Divine Proportion and Dynamic Symmetry.- Color.- Art and Synesthesia.- 9 What is Real?.- Colored Illusions: Color Constancy and Colored Shadows.- Retinex Theory of Color Vision.- Phantom Vision and Blindsight.- Optic Imagery and the Gestaltists.- Microgenetics.- 10 Conclusions.

What People are Saying About This

Simon Baron-Cohen

This new edition brings the reader interested in synaesthesia rapidly up to date with the scholarly and scientific debates in this field, and will stand as the new textbook on this unusual condition.

From the Publisher

"This new edition brings the reader interested in synaesthesia rapidly up to date with the scholarly and scientific debates in this field, and will stand as the new textbook on this unusual condition."—Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, University of Cambridge

"In 1989, the first edition of Synesthesia rekindled discussion, which had died down somewhat since the 'synesthesia euphoria' of the 1920s. This new,revised edition explores the many theories that have emerged in the last ten years.

No one who is seriously interested in synesthesia can afford to ignore this book."—Jörg Jewanski, Conservatory Münster, Germany

Endorsement

In 1989, the first edition of Synesthesia rekindled discussion, which had died down somewhat since the 'synesthesia euphoria' of the 1920s. This new, revised edition explores the many theories that have emerged in the last ten years. No one who is seriously interested in synesthesia can afford to ignore this book.—Jörg Jewanski, Conservatory Münster, Germany

Jeorg Jewanski

In 1989, the first edition of Synesthesia rekindled discussion, which had died down somewhat since the 'synesthesia euphoria' of the 1920s. This new revised edition explores the many theories that have emerged in the last ten years. No one who is seriously interested in synesthesia can afford to ignore this book.

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