Synaesthesia Magazine Science & Numbers - Page 28

sense auditory vibrations. Rather, his brain tells him that he has heard the sound. The ping! - exists in his consciousness.

There may be endless forms of synaesthesia: grapheme to colour, pain to colour, sound to touch, lexical to gustatory, and so on.

Struck by genius

A third case-study, Jason, experiences an unusual form of synaesthesia. He projects geometrical patterns onto his environment. Light appears as fractals. Amorphous edges - like those of clouds and water - are spirals. Tangent and secant lines halo hard objects and rotate as Jason and his environment move.

Jason can translate these geometric patterns into perfect mathematical equations. This is one way he is also a mathematical savant. Now, as he learns equations, he sees fractals inside his mind’s eye. He uses his synaesthetic visions to cognitively access complex mathematical calculations.

"Jason’s geometric visions didn’t disappear. Despite lacking formal training in mathematics or art, he started hand drawing accurate approximations of the phantom fractals."

Jason’s geometric visions didn’t disappear. After several years, he was compelled to express what he saw, as many synaesthetes are. Despite lacking formal training in mathematics or art, he started hand drawing accurate approximations of the phantom fractals. He still uses just a pencil, a ruler, and a compass.

Synaesthesia and autism

The Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research was the first to test Jason for synaesthesia. His case is interesting to us, because we are curious how the role of multi-sensory perception connects three neurological conditions: synaesthesia, savant syndrome, and autism. While many people have only one condition, many savants are also synaesthetes or autists. Many autists are also synaesthetes. By learning how perception plays a role in each of these conditions, we may better understand them all.

Jason was not born with synaethesia or savant syndrome. His condition resulted from traumatic brain injury in 2002. Outside a karaoke bar, two men mugged and beat Jason on the right side of the head. Afterwards, Jason saw the world in distinct patterns. His brain rewired itself, illustrating that the mind doesn’t result from the substance of the brain; it results from the structure.

consciousness. There may be endless forms of synaesthesia: grapheme to colour, pain to colour, sound to touch, lexical to gustatory, and so on.

Struck by genius

A third case-study, Jason, experiences an unusual form of synaesthesia. He projects geometrical patterns onto his environment. Light appears as fractals. Amorphous edges - like those of clouds and water - are spirals. Tangent and secant lines halo hard objects and rotate as Jason and his environment move.

Jason can translate these geometric patterns into perfect mathematical equations. This is one way he is also a mathematical savant. Now, as he learns equations, he sees fractals inside his mind’s eye. He uses his synaesthetic visions to cognitively access complex mathematical calculations.

Jason’s geometric visions didn’t disappear. After several years, he was compelled to express what he saw, as many synaesthetes are. Despite lacking formal training in mathematics or art, he started hand drawing accurate approximations of the phantom fractals. He still uses just a pencil, a ruler, and a compass.

Synaesthesia and autism

The Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research was the first to test Jason for synaesthesia. His case is interesting to us, because we are curious how the role of multi-sensory perception connects three neurological conditions: synaesthesia, savant syndrome, and autism. While many people have only one condition, many savants are also synaesthetes or autists. Many autists are also synaesthetes. By learning how perception plays a role in each of these conditions, we may better understand them all.

Discover more about the work of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research here