Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia

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MIT Press, 2009 - Medical - 309 pages
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A person with synesthesia might feel the flavor of food on her fingertips, sense the letter J as shimmering magenta or the number 5 as emerald green, hear and taste her husband's voice as buttery golden brown. Synesthetes rarely talk about their peculiar sensory gift—believing either that everyone else senses the world exactly as they do, or that no one else does. Yet synesthesia occurs in one in twenty people, and is even more common among artists. One famous synesthete was novelist Vladimir Nabokov, who insisted as a toddler that the colors on his wooden alphabet blocks were "all wrong." His mother understood exactly what he meant because she, too, had synesthesia. Nabokov's son Dmitri, who recounts this tale in the afterword to this book, is also a synesthete—further illustrating how synesthesia runs in families.

In Wednesday Is Indigo Blue, pioneering researcher Richard Cytowic and distinguished neuroscientist David Eagleman explain the neuroscience and genetics behind synesthesia’s multisensory experiences. Because synesthesia contradicted existing theory, Cytowic spent twenty years persuading colleagues that it was a real—and important—brain phenomenon rather than a mere curiosity. Today scientists in fifteen countries are exploring synesthesia and how it is changing the traditional view of how the brain works.

Cytowic and Eagleman argue that perception is already multisensory, though for most of us its multiple dimensions exist beyond the reach of consciousness. Reality, they point out, is more subjective than most people realize. No mere curiosity, synesthesia is a window on the mind and brain, highlighting the amazing differences in the way people see the world.
 

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User Review  - Meredy - LibraryThing

Six-word review: Why some brains multiply sensory experience. Extended review: In the decades since I first learned that my somewhat unusual way of perceiving written words had a name, synesthesia has ... Read full review

Wednesday is indigo blue: discovering the brain of synesthesia

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

So what is synesthesia? Researcher Cytowic (The Man Who Tasted Shapes) and neuroscientist Eagleman (Ctr. for Synesthesia Research, Baylor Coll. of Medicine) offer an answer: synesthesia is a response ... Read full review

Contents

1 What Color Is Tuesday?
1
2 A Kaleidoscopic World
23
3 Dont It Make My Brown Is Blue?
63
4 See with Your Ears
87
5 November Hangs above Me to the Left
109
6 A Matter of Taste
127
7 Auras Orgasms and Nervous Peaches
151
8 Metaphor Art and Creativity
163
9 Inside a Synesthetes Brain
199
10 Questions Ahead
235
Afterword
249
Notes
255
Bibliography
281
Index
301
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About the author (2009)

Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., founded Capitol Neurology, a private clinic in Washington, D.C., and teaches at George Washington University Medical Center. He is the author of Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses and The Man Who Tasted Shapes, both published by the MIT Press. David M. Eagleman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, where he directs the Center for Synesthesia Research.

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