History and Frequency of Reported Synesthesia

  • Steve M. Shindell


If Jean-Paul Sarte’s (1961) philosophy that “perception is consciousness” is taken literally, differences of perception take on special meaning for the psychologist. Different perceptions of the world tell us of different conceptual realities, and the understanding of these perceptions can yield information about human functioning. Individual differences in perception have always fascinated psychologists; these differences underly many “curiosities” of the mind, not the least of which is synesthesia, the translation of one sense modality into a secondary sense. In fact, Galton (1883) states that synesthesia helps us recognize individual differences, and shows us “how impossible it is for one man to lay his mind strictly along that of another.” Common linguistic phrases such as “I see what you’re saying,” “It is a blue Monday,” “That is a loud color,” or the famous “The dawn comes up like thunder,” suggest that synesthetic perceptions may influence our language.


Cold Spray Specific Color Conceptual Reality Creative Thought Hallucinogenic Drug 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve M. Shindell
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of ArizonaUSA

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