Synesthesia represents an atypical merging of percepts, in which a given sensory experience (e.g., words, letters, music) triggers sensations in a different perceptual domain (e.g., color). According to recent estimates, the vast majority of the reported cases of synesthesia involve a visual experience. Purely non-visual synesthesia is extremely rare and to date there is no reported case of a congenitally blind synesthete. Moreover, it has been suggested that congenital blindness impairs the emergence of synesthesia-related phenomena such as multisensory integration and cross-modal correspondences between non-visual senses (e.g., sound-touch). Is visual experience necessary to develop synesthesia? Here we describe the case of a congenital blind man (CB) reporting a complex synesthetic experience, involving numbers, letters, months and days of the week. Each item is associated with a precise position in mental space and with a precise tactile texture. In one experiment we empirically verified the presence of number-texture and letter-texture synesthesia in CB, compared to non-synesthete controls, probing the consistency of item-texture associations across time and demonstrating that synesthesia can develop without vision. Our data fill an important void in the current knowledge on synesthesia and shed light on the mechanisms behind sensory crosstalk in the human mind.

Bottini, R., Nava, E., De Cuntis, I., Benetti, S., Collignon, O. (2022). Synesthesia in a congenitally blind individual. NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, 170 [10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2022.108226].

Synesthesia in a congenitally blind individual

Nava, E;
2022

Abstract

Synesthesia represents an atypical merging of percepts, in which a given sensory experience (e.g., words, letters, music) triggers sensations in a different perceptual domain (e.g., color). According to recent estimates, the vast majority of the reported cases of synesthesia involve a visual experience. Purely non-visual synesthesia is extremely rare and to date there is no reported case of a congenitally blind synesthete. Moreover, it has been suggested that congenital blindness impairs the emergence of synesthesia-related phenomena such as multisensory integration and cross-modal correspondences between non-visual senses (e.g., sound-touch). Is visual experience necessary to develop synesthesia? Here we describe the case of a congenital blind man (CB) reporting a complex synesthetic experience, involving numbers, letters, months and days of the week. Each item is associated with a precise position in mental space and with a precise tactile texture. In one experiment we empirically verified the presence of number-texture and letter-texture synesthesia in CB, compared to non-synesthete controls, probing the consistency of item-texture associations across time and demonstrating that synesthesia can develop without vision. Our data fill an important void in the current knowledge on synesthesia and shed light on the mechanisms behind sensory crosstalk in the human mind.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Blindness; Concepts; Synesthesia; Touch;
English
Bottini, R., Nava, E., De Cuntis, I., Benetti, S., Collignon, O. (2022). Synesthesia in a congenitally blind individual. NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, 170 [10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2022.108226].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/394895
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