What can synaesthesia tell us about our minds?
Keywordssynaesthesia, developmental synaesthesia, acquired synaesthesia, temporary synaesthesia, linguistic-colour synaesthesia, abstract associations, implicit learning, somatosensory cortex
Synaesthesia is considered here as a cognitive phenomenon in the context of developmental, neuropathological and linguistic perspectives. Developmental synaesthesia seems to arise as an effect of interplay between genotype and phenotype, during the implicit learning process in childhood, in those individuals who possess an inborn susceptibility to it. Some connections between synaesthesia and extraordinary experiences, brain restructuration and pain, are examined. Acquired types of synaesthesia may be related to sensory deprivation. The somatosensory cortex may be significant for cognitive synaesthesia, with especial importance placed on a mirror system. It is suggested here that synaesthesia might play a compensatory role during the sensorimotor stage of development. Linguistic-colour synaesthesia seems to be an abstract type of association that may characterize people with a hypersensitive colour perceptual system. In the present view synaesthesia may be seen as an effect of some deficiency that concerns double integrative processes.
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