Synaesthesia as a window into human nature

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Yesterday, the University of East London had the pleasure of welcoming Ed Hubbard from Vanderbilt University, USA to give a talk about synaesthesia. It was a free public lecture, lasting about 90 minutes, and we had a pretty great turn out.

The lecture signalled the start of the annual UK Synaesthesia Association conference (this year hosted by UEL) – whilst the conference is still open to the public, they need to be paying public, so this free lecture was a bit more accessible to armchair psychologists.

Here’s the blurb from the talk:

What do David Hockney, Richard Feynman, Nabokov, Messiaen and Stevie Wonder all have in common?  They all experience synaesthesia, a “union of the senses”. 

For some synaesthetes, listening to a piece of music may also cause them to see specific colours while for others letters or numbers are always tinged a certain colour.  Although synaesthesia has been known about for over 100 years, interest in synaesthesia has undergone resurgence in the past decade.  This talk will discuss recent research, showing what synaesthetes already know: synaesthesia is real, and synaesthetes are neither telling stories, nor are they “crazy.” 

More information about synaesthesia can be found here: www.uel.ac.uk/psychology/research/synaesthesia

I really enjoyed Ed’s talk – he’s a great speaker, and was very obviously passionate about his area of research. He’s also keen to get all you American synaesthetes involved with his research, so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with him: edhubbard [at] gmail [dot] com

More about synaesthesia to follow tomorrow, as I am, at this moment in time, at the conference. Need to rush off now – lectures to attend. Exciting stuff!

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