New research shows that synaesthetic experiences (where one sense triggers the involuntary use of another) can be induced by hypnosis.
How very, VERY interesting. Do you recall my ever-evolving paper on How Color Vision Works? One of the topics was Seeing Sounds and Tasting Colors, in which I introduced the concept of synaesthesia.
In a nutshell, synaesthesia embraces a variety of different conditions in which the stimulation of one sets of sensory inputs (say sound) is simultaneously perceived by one or more of the other senses (sight or touch, for example). There are many different forms of synaesthesia. One very common type is when folks associate numbers and letters of the alphabet with different colors. For example, consider the way in which a non-synaesthete would see a group of words printed as black text on white paper as illustrated below:
The point is that some synaesthetes may "see" or "perceive" the words as having colors as illustrated below:
As an aside, my paper reference above also talks about logic designers who see logic gates (AND, OR, NAND, NOR, etc. in different colors, but that's another story...)
Ever since I first heard about this, I wondered what it would be like to experience it, but like most folks I assumed that you were either born this way or you weren't. However... my friend Wilfried in the Netherlands just emailed me with a link to an interesting article (published on PhysOrg.com just a few hours ago as I pen these words) that says synaesthetic experiences can be induced by hypnosis:
How very, VERY interesting. I've never really liked the idea of being hypnotized before, but I might be tempted in this case just to experience what it would be like to have a synaesthetic experience without the assistance of illegal substances...
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