Synaesthesia as a model system for understanding variation in the human mind and brain

Ward, Jamie (2021) Synaesthesia as a model system for understanding variation in the human mind and brain. Cognitive Neuropsychology. ISSN 0264-3294

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to reposition synaesthesia as model system for understanding variation in the construction of the human mind and brain. People with synaesthesia inhabit a remarkable mental world in which numbers can be coloured, words can have tastes, and music is a visual spectacle. Key questions remain unanswered about why it exists, and how the study of synaesthesia might inform theories of the human mind. This article argues we need to rethink synaesthesia as not just representing exceptional experiences, but as a product of an unusual neurodevelopmental cascade from genes to brain to cognition of which synaesthesia is only one outcome. Specifically, differences in the brains of synaesthetes support a distinctive way of thinking (enhanced memory, imagery etc.) and may also predispose towards particular clinical vulnerabilities. In effect, synaesthesia can act as a paradigmatic example of a neuropsychological approach to individual differences.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: synaesthesia, neurodiversity, consciousness, biomarkers, cognition
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2021 07:07
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2021 11:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/100126

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