[SIGHTINGS]: A new review of synaesthesia
Synaesthesia, the arts and creativity: a neurological connection.
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London,
For over 100 years the link between synaesthesia and the arts has
attracted controversy. This has been spurred by the production of
auditory, literary and visual art by famous individuals who report
experiences synonymous with the neurological condition. Impressive
protagonists in this discussion include Arthur Rimbaud, Charles
Baudelaire, Vasily Kandinsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Alexander Scriabin,
Olivier Messiaen and David Hockney. Interdisciplinary debates have
concerned whether synaesthesia can actively contribute to an artist's
ability, whether it is a driving force or a mere idiosyncratic quirk and
whether, fundamentally, it is a distinct idiopathic condition or an
unusual metaphorical description of normal perception. Recent
psychological and neuroscientific evidence offers a new level to the
debate. Coherent patterns of a neural basis of synaesthesia have been
confirmed with high spatial resolution brain imaging techniques and the
link with the arts is transpiring to be more than superficial or
coincidental. Moreover, the neural distinction of the synaesthete brain
may prove to be a window into a neural basis of creative cognition, and
therefore conducive to the expression of creativity in various media.
In: Bogousslavsky J, Hennerici MG (eds): Neurological Disorders in
Famous Artists - Part 2. (Frontiers in Neurology and Neuroscience, vol.
2007, pp. 206-222.
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