Tasty coloured sounds: The science of Synaesthesia
|Date||4th October 2024|
|Time||19:30 - 21:30|
|Presenter||Dr Julia Simner|
Synaesthesia is a rare neurological trait that gives rise to a type of ‘merging of the senses’. For those who experience it, one sense merges or crosses with another. Some synaesthetes see colours when they hear sounds; others experiences taste in the mouth when they read words. Some feel texture against the hand in response to the tastes of food in their mouth, and yet others hear sounds when they see silent moving objects. Each form of synaesthesia is accompanied by its own benign difference in brain structure (e.g., extra 'wiring' near colour regions for those who see sound in colour). In this talk I'll describe research from my lab over the last two decades examining this remarkable condition. The pictures above are paintings from Benjamin Britten's song cycle Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, painted by someone who has synaesthesia and paints what she hears.
Julia Simner is a professor of neuropsychology specialising in multisensory research. Her education and career have taken her to the Universities of Paris-Sorbonne, Oxford, Toronto, Edinburgh and Sussex, and she currently runs the MULTISENSE lab at the University of Sussex. Her work focuses on the psychological and neuroscientific bases of sensory differences, and has been published in well-regarded science journals including ‘Brain’ and ‘Nature’, and in over 100 newspaper and media articles worldwide. She is the Science Officer for the UK Synaesthesia Association, and the author of several books (The Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia; Synaesthesia: A Very Short Introduction).