Crossing Sensory Boundaries: Synesthesia Events Co-sponsored by OCAD University
Synaesthesia is an inherited neurological condition that gives rise to a kind of 'merging of the senses'. For example, synaesthetes might 'see' colours when they hear music, or experience tastes in the mouth when they read words. One particularly common variant is experiencing colours when reading letters or numbers, and this variant of the condition – known as grapheme-colour synaesthesia -- is found in around 1 in 100 people. What are the experiences of synaesthetes, and how do these unusual experiences develop during childhood? How do they impact on schooling and early life development and how do adult synaesthetes navigate their multisensory worlds? I will explore the nature of these cross-sensory experiences and ask what they might also tell us about sensory processing in the population at large. I’ll describe what I have learned from the scientific research carried out at my Synaesthesia and Sensory Integration lab over the last decade, and how synaesthesia might open novel ways of understanding creativity, perception and the very nature of reality.
Dr. Julia Simner is a neuropsychologist and leading expert in the field of synesthesia research. She trained at the Universities of Oxford, Toronto and Sussex, and she currently runs the Synesthesia and Sensory Integration lab at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work focuses on the psychological and neuroscientific bases of synesthesia, and has been published in the high impact science journals such as ‘Nature’. She is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia and is keenly interested in facilitating the public’s understanding of science. Her work has been reported in over 100 media articles worldwide, including the NY Times, BBC, CBC, Telegraph, Times, New Scientist, Scientific American etc. In 2010 she was recognised as an outstanding European scientist by the European Commission’s Atomium Culture Initiative and her science writing for the general public has been published in some of Europe’s leading national newspapers.
This presentation is co-sponsored by OCAD University, The Colour Research Society of Canada, MaHRC, and the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, with financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.
Organized by David Griffin, Instructor, Faculty of Art and Doreen Balabanoff, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design.