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Video: Black On Red - Self-development
People with amazing ability live next to us. Perhaps you also have it, you just do not suspect about it. This is synesthesia, the result of unusual connections in the brain, when sounds are combined with color or words with emotions, another integration of different modalities occurs. About 60 types of synesthesia are known, and the most popular is grapheme-color, when for a person black numbers or letters on a white background are seen as multi-colored.
Salty fence and green pain
Synesthesia is hereditary. It is found seven times more often among artists, poets and writers than among representatives of other professions. This can be explained by the fact that unusual relationships between objects lead people to see connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, which is the basis of creativity.
The eminent psychologist Alexander Luria, in A Little Book of Great Memory, described Shereshevsky, a reporter for a Moscow newspaper with a phenomenal memory and highly complex synaesthesia. For him, the word “fence” was salty and rough, with a sharp, piercing sound. For James Wannerton, a pub owner in England, many people's names evoke a certain flavor. So, Derke, the name of one of the regular customers tastes like earwax, the name of another regular - like wet diapers.
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Nabokov, judging by what he wrote, had a "color hearing." Arthur Rimbaud wrote about the color of letters. Also synesthetes were the artist Wassily Kandinsky, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Nobel Prize laureate physicist Richard Fineman. He said, “When I look at equations, I see them in color, I don’t know why; and I was always curious, what do the students see?"
In 1913, a case of rare synesthesia was described - in a woman, pain of varying intensity and in different parts of the body differed in color. Our contemporary, American, hears music and at the same time feels tactile sensations - vibrations in the chest or stroking the skin. Some music sounds like a slap to her. But this, however, is always a pleasant sensation, and, according to her stories, she really feels the music with her whole body, merges with it.
The author of a book about unusual abilities, Berit Brogaard is a synesthetic herself. When she is afraid of something, her fear takes the form of fantastic shapeless landscapes that arise 20-30 centimeters from her eyes. They look like crumpled paper, painted in different colors. The landscape sways as if someone is shaking it. When the fear is great, this picture completely blocks the vision, and when the fear is not strong, it is almost transparent. Once a unique ability saved her life when the landscape suddenly appeared during a hike. Arose and, blocking vision, forced to stop. When fear became "transparent", she saw a poisonous snake on the path ahead, which she would have stepped on if she had not had such an ability. Curiously, Sigmund Freud had exactly the same form of synesthesia!
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The number of synesthetics is estimated at 1–5% of the population. To conduct experiments, you must first find them. Quite simple tests are sometimes used. For example, here's one where you need to count the number of twos as quickly as possible. No matter how fast you are in counting, a person with this kind of synesthesia will immediately see it faster: for him all the deuces will be of a certain color.
Find the key to the talent
Until recently, synesthesia perception was perceived as a metaphor, almost an invention of creative people. But experiments have shown that this is a real, albeit unusual, work of the brain, a product of biochemical processes.
By the way, many people don't even know they have synesthesia. Only by starting a specific conversation, they can find out that this is not so. There is a suspicion that grapheme-color synesthesia could also arise from ordinary children's magnetic numbers and letters of different colors. Children can learn to associate colors with letters and numbers. Another example: for some people, the days of the week are arranged in space as they were presented in the school diary. It's such a mild form of learned synesthesia.
Synesthesia was created in a hypnotic trance. Then a very ingenious test was used. Usually synesthetics see the number seven in red. A black 7 is placed on a red background, and synesthetics cannot see it! A black deuce on a yellow background is also invisible to some synesthetics.
Synesthesia is in each of us
There is an easy way to see the world through the eyes of a synestheticist and get a little more creative right now. As the famous American neuropsychologist Viljanur Ramachadran says, "we are all synesthetes, but we just don't know about it." He offers to look at the two figures below and say which one is Bubba and which one is Kiki?
Our vision sees lines - sharp or smooth, and at the same time the auditory cortex of our brain reproduces voiced or voiceless syllables, and connects one to the other, instantly.
If you, like most people, believe that Kiki is on the left and Bubba is on the right, then you have the ability to understand metaphors, be creative, and think abstractly. All you need to do to become better is, when thinking about one thing, always attract something else.
For example, you want to double the sales of your business. Imagine music that describes your business now and what it would be like when the business doubles. You will literally hear if your current decisions are in tune with the future of the company.
Instead of music, you can use colors or smells (what should your new successful business smell like?), And instead of a business, the task can be “how to improve relationships”, “persuade the child to clean up after them toys” and whatever else. This must be done in such a way that between the initial version and the desired one there is the same tangible and unmistakable difference as between Kiki and Bubba.
Recently, psychologists at the University of Sussex were able to teach simple synesthesia (black letters are perceived as colored in different colors) to ordinary people. Training for several weeks was mainly limited to reading texts, in which some letters were of a certain color. At the end of the training, people were able to pass a test similar to the one with two's. The experiment showed that we can learn a new perception of the world quickly and easily. True, three months after the end of training, the new ability practically disappeared.
A side effect of training was the increase in the level of intelligence: IQ rose by 12 points in comparison with the control group. Interestingly, people with congenital synesthesia do not have these intelligence benefits. However, studies show that they have better memory.
Our brain is capable of extraordinary abilities, which, however, are only open by birth to a select few. Savants, people with incredible abilities for music, mathematics, drawing, who have super memory, almost always have synesthesia. She, as we see, lends itself to mastery.
Synesthesia itself is wonderful, and it can also serve as a key to the manifestation of other superpowers. Talents can open up in each of us.
- Brogaard B., Marlow K. The superhuman mind: free the genius in your brain. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2015.
- Bor D., Rothen N., Schwartzman DJ, Clayton S., Seth AK Adults can be trained to acquire synesthetic experiences. Scientific Reports. 2014.4.