Oxford Handbook of Syn-aithesia, 34-36



Synaisthesia & Artistic Process

Carol Steen & Greta Berman


p. 672 creating art

"creating art derives from the use of images arising out of the artist's ... dreams, or "automatism," as is found in Surrealism."

p. 673 synaisthetic photisms in rapid succession

"synesthetes do not necessarily ... copy what they see ... . The first author[ess] of this chapter ..., who has colored graphemes, colored sound, colored touch, colored pain, and colored smells (as well as shapes accompanying those colors), can assert that her synesthetic photisms come too quickly for this -- there are too many of them".

pp. 674 movement of synaisthetic shapes

p. 674

"Klu:ver noted thaat individuals who experienced synesthesia shared a number of common perceptions [of shapes]. He created a taxonomy of these forms and named these visual depictions "form constants"".

p. 677

"Klu:ver's form constants ... can radiate, rotate, morph kaleidoscope, drift, spiral, and reduplicate. Shapes experienced by synesthetes also ... can appear suddenly, permute, magnify, repeat, dart quickly, and change colors abruptly".

pp. 677, 681 synaisthetic shapes' movements while music is played

p. 677

"With music, the tempo affects the timing of the photisms' movements. ... synesthetic perceptions can move something like the aurora borealis, or like combinations of fireworks or solar flares. For example, ... a ... firework ... joined by numerous others with changing shapes and colors".

p. 681

"In general, synesthetes painting [while there is playing] music must paint in the moment, or replay the music at another time if they wish to add something to the painting."

p. 684 praecision of color hues by synesthetes

"Another character of synesthetic art ... true for many synesthetic artists, is the necessity to be extremely precise about color hues and intensities. This reflects the huge importance placed by synesthetes general on clearly specifying the colors of their sensations ... (Simner et al. 2005). Indeed, synesthetes even use significantly more color terms than non-synesthetes when verbally describing cross-sensory associations [loc. cit.]."

Simner et al. 2005 = Simner; Ward; Lanz; Jansari; Noonan; Glover; & Oakley : "... Associations of Graphemes to Colours in Synaesthetic ... Populations". COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY 22:1069-85.

p. 685 "color-chords"

"pink against yellow ... appears to be a favorite ... combination ..., one she often sees synesthetically. ...

Shades of yellow and blue are particularly noticeable in the works of both Van Gogh and Smilack."

p. 686 a synaisthete's sensation of colors is dependent on heed attentive to particular instruments in the case of a multi-instrumental symphonies

"[In] A piece of orchestrated music ... One can watch {heed} the drums, or the violins, or the clarinets, and see certain colored moving shapes, but listening to the same music again, now paying attention to, say, the bass and flutes, the colored moving shapes may be different."

pp. 688-9 synaisthetic photisms

p. 688

"Synesthetic perceptions may include flashes, bursts, and sharp pinpricks of light that often explode into vast diaphanous shapes (... Steen 2001)."

p. 689

"She often goes for acupuncture treatments, seeking inspirational visions, and then runs home to paint what she saw."

Steen 2001 = Carol Steen : "Visions Shared : a Firsthand Look at Synaesthesia ... ". LEONARDO 34.3:203-8.

pp. 685, 689 absence of some colors from synaisthetic photism

p. 689

"Some synesthetes do not see all the colors in their visions".

p. 685

"We know that synesthetic artists do not see all colors in their photisms."



Synaisthesia & Memory

Beat Meier & Nicolas Rothen


p. 692 extra-ordinary memory for one's life's events, on the part of a synesthete

"A case of a synesthete with particularly extraordinary memory ability was Shereshevsky (S) ... described by Luria (1968).

S. had multiple synesthesias, a very detailed memory for real-life events ... ."

{Perhaps the synaisthesia is involved transferral of the memory to unearthly memory-storage devices.}

Luria 1968 = Aleksandr R. Luria : The Mind of a Mnemonist. Cambridge (MA) : Harvard Univ Pr.

{I knew a man in a group-home (for quondam insane-asylum-inmates, in C, GA) who said that he could remembre the events for every day of his life. He also said that he could see praeternatural luminance (making him a variety of photic synaisthete).}

p. 692 synaisthesia assistful in retrieval of other memories

"synesthesia causes an extra-ordinary memory in general -- or simply an advantage for the retrieval from memory.

{It may be that this is accomplished with divine assistance, with divinities storing the memories in subtle recording-equipment in another plane of existence, and retrieving it on the mortal's behalf.}

The latter advantage has been suggested repeatedly in the literature, as well as by synesthetes themselves (cf. Cytowic 1993, 2002; Rothen and Meier 2010; Yaro and Ward 2007).

However, as self-reports are disputable, controlled experiments are required to resolve this problem."

{This allegation may be misleading. The synesthetes can feel the internal working of their own minds, including their praeternatural connection with the other planes-of-existence whence the synaisthesia is being effectuated and controlled by otherworldly entities, whereas so-called "controlled experiments" (using material instruments, limited to the material world) cannot penetrate to the transcendental planes-of-existence where the controlling factors are actually operating.}

Rothen & Meier 2010 = Nicolas Rothen & Beat Meier : "Grapheme-Color Synaesthesia Yields ... Memory Advantage". MEMORY 18:258-64.

Yaro & Ward 2007 = Caroline Yaro & Jamie Ward : "What is Superior About the Memory of Synaesthetes?" QUARTERLY J OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 60:681-95.

p. 695 not using mental effort, but "sense" what should have required calculations

"Baron-Cohen et al. (2007) presented ... Daniel Tammet (DT), ... because of his extraordinary memory ... in which he described his synesthesia (Tammet 2006). For him, each integer up to 10,000 had its own unique shape, color, texture and feel ... .

He could intuitively "see" results of calculations in the synesthetic landscape without using conscious mental effort and he was able to "sense" whether a number was a prime or a composite."

{Quite evidently, praeternatural divinities must have performed calculations on their own computers, and shewn him their results in the guise of subtle immaterial "landscape" for him to "sense".}

Baron-Cohen et al. 2007 = Baron-Cohen; Bor; Billington; Asher; Wheelwright; & Ashwin: "Savant Memory in a Man with Colour Form-Number Synaesthesia ... ". J OF CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES 14:237-51.

Tammet 2006 = Daniel Tammet : Born on a Blue Day. London : Hodder & Stoughton.

p. 696 synaisthesia as assistance in remembring names

"Mills et al. (2006) ... tested ... a ... language professor[ess], MLS, who reported that synesthesia helped her to remember names."

Mills et al. 2006 = Mills; Innis; Westendorf; Owsianiecki; & Mcdonald : "Effect of a Synesthete's Photism on Name Recall". CORTEX 42:155-63.



Synaisthesia & Savantism

Mary Jane Spiller & Ashok S. Jansari


pp. 708, 710 savant skills

p. 708

"Down (1887) used the phrase "idiot savant" to describe individuals with "special faculties" such as remarkable drawing skills, arithmetical genius, or precise time-keeping skills, despite having prevailing developmental disorders."

"Treffert (2009) describes how savant skills can be divided into five general categories : music, art, calendar calculating, mathematics, and mechanical or spatial skills."

p. 710

"savant skills can therefore be ... exceptional skills in a narrow area, contrasted with deficits in other areas of functioning. This talents are sometimes referred to as "islands of genius" (Treffer 2009)."

Down 1887 = John L. Down : On Some Mental Affections ... . London : Churchill.

Treffert 2009 = Darold Treffert : "The Savant Syndrome : an Extraordinary Condition". PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOC. B : BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 364:1351-7.

p. 711 DT's synaisthesia of numbers and of days

"In his memoirs DT ... goes on to describe how each number ... has its own personality (which is often referred to as ordinal-linguistic personality synesthesia). ...

Numbers have shapes ..., ... colors, textures, and motions (referred to as grapheme-color synesthesia).

Additionally, some words have colors, and days of the week have colors and emotions ... .

Like other other synesthetes, DT reports that he has always had these synesthetic experiences, as far back as he can remember."

{This would indicate that the deities who impart this praeternatural capacity follow a mortal continuously through the antarabhava separating one lifespan from another (instead of locating a favorite of theirs who hath died, only after the person hath reached again the age of reason in another life).}

p. 712 contrasting numerals "6" and "9" (according to DT)

"the number six is his least favorite number as it is small and does not have a distinctive shape or texture. ...

Or ..., he imagines himself standing next to a number nine, which towers over him."

pp. 714-5 DT's "landscape" (oratorical) method for memorizing numbers

p. 714

"He makes use of the numerical landscapes that he visualizes when thinking of the numbers. He describes how when he needs to memorize a long sequence of numbers, he breaks the numbers into segments, with the size of segments varying according to how the digits look "synesthetically" together ... . When he needs to recall ..., he recalls it ... remembering each digit within each segment by "looking" at the pattern ... . In this DT is using

the "method of loci" that was used by Greek orators to remember large amounts of information by "placing" it in specific locations in their minds' eye (Yates 1966). {Are these "locations" sacred sites whereat divine guardian-spirits are in residence?} ... . ...

{This is also similar to the method in Bodish monasteries, where memory of the content of a book is enhanced by contemplating its location in the nook for it on the library-shelf. Evidently, the guardian-spirit of the library (who must be cognizant of the content of all its books) is holding knowledge of the book in that nook, so that it can be passed on from the guardian-spirit to the monk by such a contemplation.}

p. 715

DT's performance ... in the "incongruent size" condition, ... accuracy ... dropped to ... 0% ... ."

{Evidently the divine guiding-spirit supplying the memory was so offended by impropre sizes as to delete all memory of the offending numerals.}

Yates 1966 = Frances Yates : The Art of Memory. Univ of Chicago Pr.

p. 716 autism-spectrum disorders (ASD)

"Individuals with ... ASD in general, are thought to have a specific cognitive style ... (e.g., compare the Weak Central Coherence Theory (Happe 1996) to the Hyper-Systemiser Theory (Baron-Cohen and Belmonte 2005))."

Happe 1996 = F. Happe : "Studying Weak Central Coherence ... ". JChPsPs 37:873-7.

Baron-Cohen & Belmonte 2005 = Simon Baron-Cohen & Matthew K. Belmonte : "Autism". ANNUAL REVIEWS OF NEUROSCIENCE 28:109-26.

pp. 718, 721 perceiving of time in spatial patterns : autobiographical memory by AJ

p. 718

"Parker, Cahill, and McGaugh (2006) report the intriguing case of AJ, a ... woman, who is a visual-spatial synesthete : she sees time in spatial patterns. ...

AJ has an extraordinary memory for dates and personal events. ...

{Surely, she must be especially assisted by her guardian-angel (fravas^i) in this endeavour.}

Helpfully, she kept diaries ..., thus providing a resource for verification of her recollections. AJ describes her memories as vivid, like a film ... . She says it is automatic

and she is not in control.

{Her guardian-angel is in control, instead.}

When someone tells AJ a date she immediately knows ... something she did ... on that day".

p. 721

"Parker, Cahill, and McGaugh (2006) refer to AJ's autobiographical memory syndrome as hyperthymestic syndrome, from the Greek ... thymesis meaning "remembering" (more recently they have referred to this as highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM); LePort et al. 2012)."

Parker, Cahill, & McGaugh 2006 = Elizabeth S. Parker; Larry Cahill; & James L. McGaugh : "A Case of Unusual Autobiographical Remembering". NEUROCASE 12:35-49.

LePort et al. 2012 = LePorte; Mattfeld; Dickinson-Anson; Fallon; Stark; Kruggel; Cahill; & McGaugh : "Behavioral ... Investigation of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)". NEUROBIOLOGY OF LEARNING AND MEMORY 98:78-92.

p. 719 AJ's spatial kalendar

"AJ has a spatial calendar for years and another for months of the year. Her calendar for years goes from left to right

until 1970 when it changes direction

{The years from 1970 through 2012 (the year of the saucers) are 43 (the 14th prime). Born in 1943, in the year of the saucers I was 69, "6" being DT's shortest (supra, p. 712), and "9" DT's tallest (loc. cit.).}

and goes from top to bottom.

Her calendar for months is described as having January at the 11 o'clock position, with the other months going in a counter-clockwise order.

The counter-clockwise and presumably circle-like shape

{This would be more natural to the southern hemisphaere, where the apparent rotation of the sky is countre-clockwise.}

of her month calendar is commonly reported by other time-space synesthetes (Eagleman 2009; Smilek et al. 2007)." ...

Eagleman 2009 = David Eagleman : "A New View of Spatial Sequence Synaesthesia". CORTEX 45:1266-77.

Smilek et al. 2007 = Smilek; Callejas; Dixon; & Merikle : "Ovals of Time ... in Synaesthesia". PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE 13:548-52.

p. 723 synaisthesia as a foundation for savantism

"consider Sack's (1985) description of the calendrical calculating twins ... . The twins are unable ... to understand what is meant by multiplication or division but yet they can produce ten-digit prime numbers spontaneously ... .

{Evidently, the calculation is performed for them by a supernatural agency.}

Sacks (1985) suggests that the twins ... are inspecting their "prodigious panorama" with their mind's eye and "seeing" the numbers involved."

{If so, then such "panorama" must be the display of solution provided for them by the appropriate divine agency.}

Sack 1985 = Oliver Sacks : The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. London : Picador.


Julia Simner & Edward M. Hubbard (edd.) : The Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia. Oxford Univ Pr, 2013.