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Synaesthesia

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195596 Year: Pages: 211 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-559-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Abstract

Synaesthesia is a rare experience in which one property of a stimulus evokes a secondary experience that is not typically associated with the first (e.g. hearing words can evoke tastes). In recent years a number of studies have highlighted the authenticity of synaesthesia and attempted to use the experience to inform us about typical processes in perception and cognition.This Research Topic brings together research on synaesthesia and typical cross modal interactions to discuss the mechanisms of synaesthesia and what it can tell us about typical perceptual processes. Topics include, but are not limited to, the neurocognitive mechanisms that give rise to synaesthesia; the extent to which synaesthesia does / does not share commonalities with typical cross-modal correspondences; broader cognitive and perceptual consequences that are linked to synaesthesia; and perspectives on the origins / defining characteristics of synaesthesia.

The Neural Underpinnings of Vicarious Experience

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192649 Year: Pages: 169 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-264-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Everyday we vicariously experience a range of states that we observe in other people: we may "feel" embarrassed when witnessing another making a social faux pas, or we may feel sadness when we see a loved one upset. In some cases this process appears to be implicit. For instance, observing pain in others may activate pain-related neural processes but without generating an overt feeling of pain. In other cases, people report a more literal, conscious sharing of affective or somatic states and this has sometimes been described as representing an extreme form of empathy. By contrast, there appear to be some people who are limited in their ability to vicariously experience the states of others. This may be the case in several psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, and personality disorders where deficits in interpersonal understanding are observed, such as schizophrenia, autism, and psychopathy. In recent decades, neuroscientists have paid significant attention to the understanding of the “social brain,” and the way in which neural processes govern our understanding of other people. In this Research Topic, we wish to contribute towards this understanding and ask for the submission of manuscripts focusing broadly on the neural underpinnings of vicarious experience. This may include theoretical discussion, case studies, and empirical investigation using behavioural techniques, electrophysiology, brain stimulation, and neuroimaging in both healthy and clinical populations. Of specific interest will be the neural correlates of individual differences in traits such as empathy, how we distinguish between ourselves and other people, and the sensorimotor resonant mechanisms that may allow us to put ourselves in another's shoes.

Developing synaesthesia

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195794 Year: Pages: 173 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-579-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Abstract

Synaesthesia is a condition in which a stimulus elicits an additional subjective experience. For example, the letter E printed in black (the inducer) may trigger an additional colour experience as a concurrent (e.g., blue). Synaesthesia tends to run in families and thus, a genetic component is likely. However, given that the stimuli that typically induce synaesthesia are cultural artefacts, a learning component must also be involved. Moreover, there is evidence that synaesthetic experiences not only activate brain areas typically involved in processing sensory input of the concurrent modality; synaesthesia seems to cause a structural reorganisation of the brain. Attempts to train non-synaesthetes with synaesthetic associations have been successful in mimicking certain behavioural aspects and posthypnotic induction of synaesthetic experiences in non-synaesthetes has even led to the according phenomenological reports. These latter findings suggest that structural brain reorganization may not be a critical precondition, but rather a consequence of the sustained coupling of inducers and concurrents. Interestingly, synaesthetes seem to be able to easily transfer synaesthetic experiences to novel stimuli. Beyond this, certain drugs (e.g., LSD) can lead to synaesthesia-like experiences and may provide additional insights into the neurobiological basis of the condition. Furthermore, brain damage can both lead to a sudden presence of synaesthetic experiences in previously non-synaesthetic individuals and a sudden absence of synaesthesia in previously synaesthetic individuals. Moreover, enduring sensory substitution has been effective in inducing a kind of acquired synaesthesia. Besides informing us about the cognitive mechanisms of synaesthesia, synaesthesia research is relevant for more general questions, for example about consciousness such as the binding problem, about crossmodal correspondences and about how individual differences in perceiving and experiencing the world develop. Hence the aim of the current Research Topic is to provide novel insights into the development of synaesthesia both in its genuine and acquired form. We welcome novel experimental work and theoretical contributions (e.g., review and opinion articles) focussing on factors such as brain maturation, learning, training, hypnosis, drugs, sensory substitution and brain damage and their relation to the development of any form of synaesthesia.

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