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Alex
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synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dudes,
Try this as an empathy exercise...
...Imagine looking at a web page and hearing it via your ears as a mass of sounds and noises; imagine trying to read a page when each color has a particular sound and tactile sensation, so that you look at a particular shade of orange and feel a literal pressure in your upper back; each picture can be either a little symphony and soothing massage, or a cacophony of raucous sounds and unpleasant pain; imagine trying to pay attention to what the page says while being constantly distracted by the loud pop and crackling-cellophane sound that pops into your mind and whacks you on the back of the neck or pokes you in the stomach every time you glance at the accompanying picture.

Trying to imagine any of this might seem strange, but for a person with synesthesia this type of strange can be routine. In moving towards understanding individual sensory experiences, it helps to remember that each brain is a little different, and each of us sees things a little differently, and  sometimes a lot differently.

If you have developed synesthesia yourself you'll have extra insights about aesthetics. The sensory coupling that occurs in synesthesia makes some things apparent that never were before, and design, from interior/exterior decoration to website layout, rarely bears this in mind (so you must be prepared for a few raucous surprises).

If for example you have color-sound coupling, every picture makes a noise, largely due to its color content. Although a webpage like this one is fairly serene -on the whole it has combinations of color that make pleasant ambient sounds; by contrast many social sites are 'raucous', 'loud' and 'crashing', with klaxons going off as things flash at you and a cacophony of different colors that produce a mixture of yelling, banging, honking, crackling and groaning sounds while slapping you round the back of the head in an all-out sensory assault.

I say 'slapping you round the back of the head' because if you also have color- or sound-tactile coupling, these noises can cause feelings of pressure, discomfort or pain in various parts of your body; you may therefore have a highly unpleasant experience and one that almost nobody would consider possible when designing their website. For me, bright yellow sitting right beside pink causes discomfort around the back of the neck, klaxon alarm noises, and a vague feeling of nausea; adding a lime green brings discomfort to the stomach, adding orange brings a loud clatter and hum like a broken fan and discomfort to the shoulders and upper arms. Puce pokes you in the stomach and makes a sound like a cat throwing up under a sofa, so maybe it is intuitively named?

As you can imagine, even looking at some websites (not to mention TV) becomes disorienting and some color (noise) combinations can be truly distressing. You start avoiding places with 'loud' décor. You may avoid a place just because the sound of its name makes you nauseous. You start using all sorts of little apps to block flashy things & pop-ups. At the same time you start surrounding yourself with pictures that make nice noises, and you design your own site carefully so it won't deafen or alarm those with synesthesia.

There is a useful 'clue' about good input to be found here for NH students. You will find most cultural websites (even wikipedia) are designed in aesthetically pleasing ways, even to synesthetes. Whether this is by intuitive or conscious awareness I have no idea, but by contrast, most 'Toilet Empire' sites (for example, sales sites), are a real synesthetic mess with all the loud, uncoordinated racket I mention above. Immediately and without having to read anything, therefore,  you can sum up a site from its color content -'loud, shallow & crass', in-your-face, harmonious, or appropriate-to-subject ambience.

Of course, there is a fitting context for 'loud, shallow & crass', for the yellow & green spotty trousers and the purple/orange shirt, with all the attendant klaxons, shouting, one-man-bands, neck-slapping and whoopie-cushion noises. -Clowns for example can use these for slapstick comedy very effectively  in the circus ring.

From a synesthetic pov it would be best if they stayed there. One might wonder do the owners of sales sites (and shops) even know they put off customers who are synesthetes due to the 'aesthetic racket', or do they just assume anyone who is that sensitive wouldn't be buying their crap anyway? This much remains unknown. Many of us are blind to what many others perceive.

Can you turn it off? Well yes, you can, with practice; but firstly you're then losing data about a situation and secondly it's too late when it's already taken you by surprise and triggered alarm  :  )

...I wonder if everyone is now wondering what their avatar sounds & feels like? Every one is different, so you'll have to decipher that for yourselves! Mine makes a faint sine-wave synthesizer noise with a few blue metallic tinkly bits and a very slight crunching, such as the sound of someone quietly munching cookies   LOL  :  )

Did any of you choose your avatars with synesthesia in mind? If not, would you change anything if you did so now? Look around the room you're in -what would the colors sound/feel like with synesthesia?
Best,
AR


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Act2Ally
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

I too am too familiar with such whispers however neurohacking has still to fulfill its promise of recovering the intensity from childhood. I don't know if it ever reached synesthetic levels, if it did it was more of a tactile flavor. But it could just be normal psychosomatic responses of emotion, I'm using the same introspective skills (perhaps the only skill I consider myself somewhat good at redface) which allowed me to click with the book and NH relatively quickly (I believe, but am probb wrong again lol) ... to classify those and it seems to be helping recover them but still too subtle... (any suggestions from NH besides anxiety reduction?)

But images and sounds always invoked strong emotions and I've still got this at least at a declarative level (n5)? Though at this level I think most people do (however unconscious)? More like associations we have for each color or melodic pattern. Though I often remember/associate past places with the texture of particular images and smell. My sense of smell was also quite keen, i think i may be recovering that though... And I do hear bats (that was not part of the joke, lol, just the trigger)

More recently I was starting to describe flavors with geometric patterns, but it was too subtle to be sure. Also when reading, sometimes I see words with color, but it doesnt seem to provide more info so it could be just an eye thing lol cause i did try to pay closer attention and didnt find much correlation... but I'm still on the "look out", so to speak, on this one...


About the avatars:

Coincidentally, I planned to change my avatar last week, after reading your reply to CH which provided a nice comical hook, as I "excused" it on "acid" (I was waiting for a more appropriate time to post so as not to interrupt the conversation and I placed that reply today). Though I don't think mine had much problems with colors.. it was basically an orange/yellow against a neutral background (white in this case).. not to mention the sphinx is a product of culture? although the slaves would probably "beg" to differ? To me it just associates with sand, desert winds, maybe dryness, etc...

I was more concerned about the pose and the joke with the vader's head... then the egyptian motif came along a few days ago, which was the occasion I was expecting to implement the change =) and there you have it, an unbirthday present indeed tongue (I posted that reply (on embedding stuff) before reading this! lol another coincidence, now it's not simply a thematic joke ^_^)


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Alex
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dudes,
Hacks & exercises for developing synesthesia & metaphorization skills are in tutorials.
Best,
AR


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Act2Ally
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi, dude... I'm right here roll .. to your other left. tongue I like plurals, but not that often.. (j/k)

I've seen those, but didnt seem to help.. and there were few (i remember only 1) or am I recalling incorrectly? im gonna check it again...

My priority would be emotion, I hope it has nothing to do with the knock in the head which made me pass out after rolling accelerating to full speed down a hill on my bicycle... hmm LOL

edit: Oh, my metaphorization seems reasonably ok.. should it imply synesthesia?



Edited By:  Act2Ally
Jun-27-14 22:12:33

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Alex
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dudes,
Re: my metaphorization seems reasonably ok.. should it imply synesthesia?

This is explained in great detail in Tutorial 11.
If emotional stability isn't achieved first, you may have a 'doing things in the right order' issue (ie synesthesia may be delayed due to lack of 'supporting applications'). The easiest cross-wiring practice for most people seems to be associating colors with moods, but everyone is different, so try all the modalities -some associate smells with colors easily, others do better with sounds (music) and moods.

Also worth playing with: 'Sakiros Hackipedia' in the resources section of library.
Best,
AR


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Act2Ally
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

That tutorial was exactly where I went =) thanks. smile

besides the chemical hack there is only the signs exercise (which I think is more related to the responses to color/melodic patterns I described above?)

Although.... passing by the diagnostic image I did see the triangle, so I guess I have synesthesia after all. I did not remember where the triangle was from when I first read the tutorial so it seems legit, unless the memory is unconscious... question

Maybe mine is just not overt as you describe? Perhaps this may be for the better as I can appreciate the beauty of the poisonous frogs of Costa-Rica without risking throwing my lunch the wrong tube? tongue

I actually had a big poster of one on my room while growing up. (plus the volcano and other exotic animals ^_^)

I say my priority is "emotion" not in the sense of "stability" but "intensity". If I can recover a fraction of the interest for programming I've once had, I'll be able to improve that skill enough to be able to offer it to scientists to help with finding answers more quickly. geek


Edit: Ps: Not to mention if I get any more "creative" my head will probably explode! mad That's probably why I can't get anything done in the first place! lol


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Alex
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Sorry, that was unclear -I didn't mean the hacks etc are in T11, I meant the connection between synesthesia & metaphorization is in T11.
There's also some stuff by Ramachandran on this in the references of T11.
Best,
AR


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Sakiro
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hey guys, short clip about synesthesia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBm4fvCwcGM

Btw Alex, i can "see" why synesthesia can help for example to have a better memory (remember something better) if more than one sense is activated when we read or hear something .. but there is something more on it?

I mean is worth the "trade off" to have thar particular improvement in memory and maybe taste/sense "no pleasent" sensations with it? (because it seems we can't control that?)

Edit: And can an "universal" exercise to develop overall synesthesia be listen to a lot of audiobooks? probably better to "connect" hearing with pictures but if you hear a lot of rich description audio (related to feelings, tastes, sensations etc) probably it helps with the others senses too?

And last one, did you read this book alex?

http://www.amazon.com/Wednesday-Indigo- … ynesthesia


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Act2Ally
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Aha! I've always been able to see and follow my hand in complete darkness. Never lost that one. smile

Thanks, Sakiro.

A2A


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Robert
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Could photoptarmosis be considered a type of synethesia?


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Act2Ally
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

hahaha! If so, then that's another one to the list.

Duuude, I'm on a roll! cool (<-- Uncanningly appropriate smiley, lol)

A2A

Ps.: It may have to do with sensitive/light eyes though hmm or too much computerz sad


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Alex
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Hi dudes,
Robert Wrote: Could photoptarmosis be considered a type of synethesia?

...There are different opinions on this. On the face of it the brain is interpreting light with an additional tactile stimulus, so it's certainly crosswiring, but some think it's dysfunctional crosswiring in the Trigeminal nerve associated with a deviated septum.

Evidence against: I have a deviated septum, but never got photoptarmosis. My friend doesn't have a deviated septum, and she gets it all the time... she also does it both ways round (coming out of light into darkness is just as effective a trigger, implying it is sudden change of light level -and therefore pupil size- and not light itself that causes the response; in her at least.)
It may be connected to temperature -some people sneeze in sudden changes of temperature regardless of the light level; coming out of the cold wind into a hot room for example.

It would not appear to be an advantageous evolutionary strategy imparting extra data in the way that other synesthetic modulation does. There is also a form of uncontrolled sneezing triggered by emotional arousal mediating histamine release, and a possibility the two could be connected as both involve sudden changes of pupil size.

Anyone who has this could do some experiments for us to explore it. Get an extra box of tissues first  :  )
Best,
AR


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Robert
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

I was hoping it was, as it's the only experience I have to relate to the concept of synesthesia.
I can correlate ideas cognitively, ie blue is 'cool' red is 'hot' but i don't feel or experience these.
Music doesn't make me 'feel' happy or sad, it just elicits memories of previous states. I can however differentiate what different music is "supposed" to make one feel like. *

Evidence For    = I have a deviated septum.
Evidence Against= it existed prior to the deviation.

what follows are purely speculative hypothesis, with no evidence.

  -large amounts of time spent in a dark, damp cave or hole.  Upon exit a sneeze to clear foreign material (fungal spores) before activitiy and deep breathing?   < sickness
  - An oncoming sneeze feels uncomfortable, thus making exiting the cave into the sun uncomfortable and slow, giving time for pupil contraction and adjustment   < predation/ > resources

  -humans with hiccups generate the same neural firing pattern as tadpoles do when they become air breathers.
  -it would be interesting to see if a similar correlation exists with aquatic animals that breach surface to breath. Light would be a good signal that its time to clear water from the blowhole.
  - none of these examples would explain going from light to dark, or temperature related sneezing.  Do the olfactory and optic nerves share the same route to the brain? does the trigeminal nerve from the face?  if so, then it is more likely that it's just an anomaly, or maybe a symptom of weak myelin sheathing on nerves causing leakage of signaling when action potential exceeds a particular level.

*exception would be Thus Spake Zarathustra, which often gives a "hair raising on the back of my neck", epinepherine like sensation.


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Sakiro
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Pseudo-Synesthesia through Reading Books with Colored Letters

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad … ne.0039799


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Alex
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Re: synesthesia & aesthetics

Sakiro wrote:
Short clip about synesthesia Re: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBm4fvCwcGM

...Rama has already covered exactly how senses can merge their input, includes MRIs of where it's happening, which were in the last tutorial. This experiment is adding kinesthesia to the list of senses that can be shown to partake in synesthesia, I strongly suspect that ALL senses can be employed in this way. What's more, it's possible that the sum of our merged sensory input is what gives us our unique aesthetic 'tastes'.

Re: is worth the "trade off" to have thar particular improvement in memory and maybe taste/sense "no pleasent" sensations with it? (because it seems we can't control that?)
...Well it's certainly in our favor to associate unhealthy things with unpleasant feeling, as that makes us move away and avoid them. More info is always useful about a situation. Pain is unpleasant but without it we wouldn't notice injuries. Sometimes I wish there were more synesthesia (imagine if farts were visible as bright yellow -so we could get out of their way!)
We can also learn control of synesthesia (otherwise I would have gotten terminally confused by now)   :  ) 

Re: can an "universal" exercise to develop overall synesthesia be listen to a lot of audiobooks? 
...Usually recommended for improving imagination, audiobooks (and in this case ordinary books) can also improve metaphorization skills so I would expect that to help synesthesia. Also movies & games, being multimedia, may be the best choice of all...? We all know what happens when the fat lady sings and the heroes dash off into the sunset...  :  )

Re: http://www.amazon.com/Wednesday-Indigo- … ynesthesia
...I didn't read this (also the two listed on the same page sounded quite interesting!)  My childhood concern -that I may one day run out of books to read- no longer troubles me  :  )
Best,
AR


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