Reflections on Synesthesia, Perception, and Cognition

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Psychology
Topics: 
Other
Keywords: 
synesthesia, synaesthesia, hallucinations, visual perception, cognition, mental processes, sensory thresholds, neuropsychology, perceptual disorders
Deposited by: 
Noam Sagiv
Date of Issue: 
2011
Authors: 
Sagiv, Noam and Ilbeigi, Alireza and Ben-Tal, Oded
Journal/Publication Title: 
Intellectica
Volume: 
55
Page Range: 
81-94
Number of Pages: 
14
Official URL: 
http://www.intellectica.org/
Alternative URL: 
http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~hsstnns/reprints/2011__Reflections_on_syn.pdf
Publish status: 
Published
Abstract: 

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In this paper, we reflect on three long-standing problems: The relationship between the physical world and the perceived world, accounting for individual differences in the way in which we perceive the world around us, and the problem of understanding other minds. We begin by examining the relationship between synaesthesia and hallucinations, as well as between hallucinations and normal percep­tion, attempting to show in both cases that the phenomena in question may share more in common than previously assumed. We consider the plausibility of a functional analysis of synaesthesia and examine the mechanisms of the different types of ordi­nary and extraordinary perceptions. We propose that synaesthesia-like mechanisms may underlie a range of perceptual phenomena and cognitive functions and demon­strate the usefulness of such an approach given the ubiquity of synaesthesia-like mental processes in human cognition.

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