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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, August 26, 2011

Synaesthetes for a research project

I have a research project, which requires that I work with synaesthetes. If you are a synaesthete, or know someone who is, please contact me, or get them to. I am interested in synaesthetes from everywhere, in the long term, though in my initial project, it would be best if the synaesthete was located in Malaysia or Singapore, for ease of access.

Synaesthesia is a condition in which there is an apparent cross wiring of the senses, in which stimulation of one sense evokes a response in another sense, or mental experience. Examples include graphemic synaesthesia, in which a person sees black letters as coloured; or musical (sound colour) synaesthesia in which music or sounds, produce colours. There are others too, involving all the senses. Curious ones include personality smell synaesthesia, in which different personalities, evoke particular smells, in the bearer of the condition.

Basically, if a sensory stimulation produces any consistent cross modal response, then that would be a variety of synaesthesia.

My first project would involve administering certain tests, from which the synaesthete could learn interesting things about themselves. For later projects, when funded appropriately, there could be financial compensation, though this will not apply to the first project.

Please contact me in the comments below or via email. Thank you.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:21 PM 

8 Comments:

Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

I know two synesthetes! :) Unfortunately, though, one is in Britain, and the other is in Mauritius. Met them in a poetry society we have on Facebook. I know the distance might be an issue, but I hope it might help. I have their contacts, so if you'd like to email them you can come to me/. :) The British one is a day-color synesthete, the Mauritian lady with synesthesia has music-color synesthesia, along with a few others. XD

Josh

9:34 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks Josh, it would be great to be able to get in touch with them. Especially since they might know other synaesthetes.

I would like to email them: so how do you want me to do that?

3:03 PM  
Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

i'll ask first if they're open to it, first. LEt me get on Facebook later this evening. I don't believe they know m/any others, though. I'll pass the emails as soon as I can. :P

Also, I've never really confirmed it, but I believe that I too am a synesthete -a month-personality synesthete, to be exact. June is a very full, contented older sister. November is a sad, aging woman with a blue shawl. December is neither old or young, but very wise. January, being the first month, is like a young colt, and always rearing to go.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Josh...you could be a synaesthete...sounds rather like it. Is it an automatic, involuntary association, you make?

Let your friends know that there is no obligation regarding any particular experiment. If they are appropriate for a particular experiment, I could offer them the chance to participate, if they want to.

Basically, I am putting together a database of synaesthetes for future work. It should be interesting for participants as they will find things out about themselves.

6:04 PM  
OpenID 7sigma said...

Well, I live in London, not in your part of the world, however I am a synaesthete. I see just about everything in colour: letters, numbers, days, months, music. Days and months also have relative "heights". Numbers also have a spatial dimension, in that they have positions in space relative to each other. I am also aware of words not only having colours (that may be linked to the letters that spell them, I'm not sure), but often also shape and texture that doesn't necessarily relate to the object/context that they refer to.

There was an article in Scientific American Mind a while back http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-synesthesia&page=2 that included a synaesthesia test, where twos and fives were printed at random. Allegedly, synaesthetes were supposed to be able to pick out the twos because they "saw" them a different colour. This test was obviously devised by a non-synaesthete, otherwise he/she would have realised straight away that by changing the shape of the digits (making the angles all square), would change their colour properties! I "see" these weird squared-off digits as all black, unlike their normal-shaped representations!

10:26 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi 7 Sigma...you have a very interesting range of synaesthesias. It would be great to work with you, on them, sometime. I would have to think about logistics though, given your location and mine.

Yes. I can understand how that test would not work for you...perhaps it works for some synaesthetes, though.

Do you have an email address? (I won't publish it). Thanks.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I know of a blind man who is a synaesthete. He wasn't always blind. He received a PhD last year. He's such a smart man. He even knows a few ancient languages. His wife helped him study by cutting out the letters of ancient script out of paper and he could then feel the letters out. He claims to see music in his head and each musical instrument is of a different colour.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Very interesting Christine. How did he become blind?

It is curious that he can see colours, to music, but cannot see to the world.

Do you know him personally?

12:58 PM  

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