Home > Interesting and Creative > Synesthesia – multi-sensory cognition

Synesthesia – multi-sensory cognition

For the past couple years, I must confess to having a bit of a fascination with synesthesia. I think my interest with synesthesia stems from my highly visual form of thinking and understanding, whereby my visual cortex I think plays a greater role in understanding and cognition that for many.

The Extraordinary Case of Daniel Tammet

My initial exposure to synesthesia came when I watched the following videos on YouTube of a British autistic savant named Daniel Tammet (who has a mild form of autism):

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Daniel has also written a book about his experiences, titled Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant.

Hearing Colors – Elisabeth Sulser

The next video is Elisabeth Sulser, a synesthete from Switzerland that hears colors, in a way that profoundly enhances her longer-term memory capabilites. Here’s the video:

Extraordinary People

The videos above are excerpts from a Discovery Channel production titled The Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic. For another fascinating segment in this series, see Extraordinary People – The boy who sees without eyes [1/5].


  1. January 7, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I was also fascinated by Tammet’s book, Born on a Blue Day, and the casual way he could describe such a dramatically different experience of sensing the world around him. Made me wonder about the ways we might exercise such facilities and break free for at least a moment from habitual ways of seeing that often get trapped in ruts of expectations accumulated through past experiences. I’m also more visually oriented, but at the same time, it makes sense to me to talk about textures of music, or layers of conversation.

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