Vlog #35: The big brain theory of synesthesia

Mayim - who is trained as a neuroscientist - explores one of her favorite brain-related phenomena
By Grok Nation StaffPublished on 08/31/2017 at 12:30 PM EST

I love the brain! OMG!” Yes, Mayim loves talking about the brain. LOVES IT. She finds the brain endlessly fascinating, which probably served her well during her PhD studies in Neuroscience. But it’s also great for us, because we get her as a guide through the intricate and amazing space between our ears. In this vlog, Mayim introduces us to synesthesia, a “perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”(Wikipedia)

People with synesthesia are known as synesthetes – and words and sounds and sometimes even numbers are perceived to be associate with colors and textures. The number 9 might be accompanied by a block of the color yellow or the word “turtle” might have an association of being a block of green color. But basically, synesthetes have an internal knowledge that words or numbers have a color associated with it. Many artists you may know – like Tori Amos, Vincent van Gogh, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West and Franz Liszt – all were synesthetes. (See video for a more complete list. That includes Liszt.)

Mayim can explain to you where in the brain all this fascination originates and how visual and auditory processing may intersect in the brain space – and don’t worry, she DOES! – but what’s unique about this video is that it uses some great new animation from Lifenoggin!

A phenomenon like synesthesia provides neuroscientists with a source of wonder, creativity and a deeper understanding of how the brain communicates within itself.

Want to learn more? Don’t miss this video – and subscribe to Mayim’s channel  for more videos in the future!


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