Chapter

Infant synaesthesia

Daphne Maurer, Laura C. Gibson and Ferrinne Spector

in Multisensory Development

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586059
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741470 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586059.003.0010
Infant synaesthesia

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Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon that often involves crossmodal or cross-dimensional perceptions which are not related to environmental stimuli. Stimulation of one sense, such as hearing, triggers the normal perception of a specific sound, but also an additional perception, often in another sense, such as a specific colour. This chapter summarizes the evidence suggesting that synaesthesia is a remnant of a normal developmental process involving an initial proliferation of synaptic connections, including connections linking cortical areas that will later become specialized for unisensory processing. An argument is put forward that crossmodal and cross-dimensional associations commonly manifested in synaesthetic adults provide clues about cortical connections in early childhood that may influence perception in the typical non-synaesthetic child. Behavioural evidence from children is provided to support this point of view. This chapter also argues that remnants of the original connections are present even in non-synaesthetic adults, in whom their influence is manifested not in conscious perception, but in implicit crossmodal associations in perception.

Keywords: synaesthesia; multisensory development; perceptual development; neuroimaging; developmental neuroscience; newborns

Chapter.  12917 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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