History of Synesthesia Essay examples

1781 Words Oct 29th, 2006 8 Pages
History of Synethesia

July 11,2006

History of Synesthesia
Synesthesia has been known to medicine for almost three hundred years. After interest peaked between 1860 and 1930, it was forgotten, because psychology and neurology were premature sciences. Psychological theory was full with associations, and concepts of nervous tissue were insignificant. Subjective experience, such as synesthesia, was believed not a proper subject for scientific study.(pg3)

Synesthesia's history is interesting but also important if we are to understand its neurological basis, because the word was used to describe diverse phenomena in different eras. Central to the initial approach in 1980 was a sharp separation of synesthesia as a sensual perception
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There is an important clue in his famous dictum, "stop thinking!" that relates to one of synesthesia's implications in reversing the roles of reason and emotion. Kandinsky grasped that creativity is an experience, not an abstract idea, and that a mind that incessantly analyzes what is there impedes that experience.

(Kandinsky's 1910 adjuration was, "lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and . . . stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?")
People were intrigued with the notion that synesthesia seemed to have a direct link to the unconscious. With time, however, attention turned to "objective" behavior that could be quantified or measured by machines. Humans became "subjects," the individual was abandoned, and the mind temporarily became a black box.

Mechanistic explanations have been plentiful throughout synesthesia's history. The notion of crossed wires turns up repeatedly. As early as 1704, Sir Isaac Newton struggled to…