Acquired and developmental synaesthesia

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21 October 2013

Presenter(s): Professor Jamie Ward
Time: 13.00 - 14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1

Abstract:

Synaesthesia refers to atypical perceptual experiences that are in some respects 'extra': thus a sound may trigger a visual as well as an auditory experience.  The stimulus that triggers synaesthesia is termed an inducer and the experience itself is termed the concurrent.  Sounds have long been known to act as inducers of synaesthesia, notably of visual experiences.  This can occur developmentally: it emerges early in life, it is not linked to obvious impairments, but is linked to biological differences (genetic and brain structure).  It can also occur in acquired form as a result of, say, blindness.  Until recently, it was less clear whether sounds ever act as a synaesthetic concurrent.  However, it has now been shown that visual motion/flash triggers sounds in some developmental cases.  It is also possible that auditory experiences are elicited from sensori-motor inducers and this may conceivably make a contribution in some cases of tinnitus.