Anatomy of a Lecture: Part 3

So far, I’ve talked about deciding on a new lecture topic, and the prep work that went into it. This time, I’ve got a collection of links to websites on synesthesia. I know I promised a “ridiculous” number of links, but these aren’t all the resources I used; I’m not going to link you to scientific journal articles, and, er, I can’t link to an actual book. Still, there’s lots of good stuff out there (and it’s not overly technical).

Tests: Think you’ve got synesthesia? Take one of these tests and find out for sure (the first one is a “real” test, the others are not so hot).

  • The Synesthesia Battery is David Eagleman’s rigorous, standardized test of synesthesia
  • Synesthesia tests has a number of different, um, synesthesia tests (unfortunately, it’s in poorly translated English)
  • Synesthesia Test assesses your grapheme → colour synesthesia (but if you simply click on the same colour over and over though, it hilariously thinks you have synesthesia!)
Simulations: If you don’t have synesthesia, it may be hard to imagine what it must be like. Here are some simulations of it.
  • animator Samantha Moore's video An Eyeful of Sound  represents her visual experience of sounds, in collaboration with Dr Jamie Ward
  • a sort-of simulation of grapheme → colour synesthesia: type letters and watch them change colours
  • a strange Java applet that turns visual images into sound, called The vOICe
  • here’s a musical sketch pad that turns your drawings into sound
  • choose colours for sound at
  • experience sound generated from watercolour paintings by an artist
  • the Music Animation Machine lets you turn any piece of music into a coloured visual display
Documentaries: Here are the best documentaries I’ve found--some from TV, some web-based. If you come across a particularly good video, send it my way.
  • I think the best one so far was produced by the BBC series Horizon, called “Derek Tastes of Earwax” (love that title). It also aired in the US as “When Senses Collide” and “When Senses Overlap” (available on YouTube)
  • ResearchChannel has another good one, called Red Mondays and Gemstone Jalapeños: The Synesthetic World (available on YouTube). BoingBoing has an abridged version as well (available on YouTube).
  • The Discovery Channel show The Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic has an episode on synesthesia (available on Disclose.TV).
  • Another Discovery Channel show, One Step Beyond, has a brief video on synesthesia that features interviews with David Eagleman and noted synesthete Sean Day (available on HowStuffWorks).
Magazine articles: (sorry)
Books/book authors:
Websites by/for/about synesthetes: Sometimes, it’s best to hear what synesthesia is like first-hand, from those who experience it.
Other good stuff: These links don't fit into any other category, but are worth a look.
Research groups/researchers: If you want more hard-core knowledge, you can find lots of peer-reviewed research articles here.
Qualia: “Qualia” is the term used by philosophers to mean our internal subjective experience--you know, do you “see” red like I “see” red? Synesthesia has been called “qualia becoming deranged.” If philosophy is your thing, here's some more about qualia in general.
And if that isn’t enough for you, Crétien van Campen has collection of over 50 synesthesia websites, and a bibliography of Synesthesia in Art and Science that's over 50 pages long. Is that ridiculous enough for you?

Why aren't you studying?

(01/17/2018: Links updated)


Anonymous said...

Great links! Thanks!

Anastasia said...

Neat stuff. I like the simulations.

Michaela said...

Thanks for the links. I love this stuff.

There aren't any synesthesia research projects happening in Edmonton that you know of, are there?

Karsten Loepelmann said...

@Michaela: Sorry, none that I know of. There are some online-only projects, like The Synesthesia Project at Boston University. (You can participate even if you don't have synesthesia.)

Michaela said...

@Dr. Loepelmann

Actually, I found a Grant Mac study to participate in recently. It was also online, though.

I'll definitely check out the Boston project. Looks like they have few different studies on synesthesia. Thanks!

Anastasia said...

"Some day I will try synesthesia, but right now I'm just not feeling it." - @JerryThomas

Graphic test for synesthesia said...

Great resources! I recently created a site dedicated to developing infographics/visual tests for synesthesia. I'd love it if you added it to your list! You can check it out at - thanks for taking a look!

Karsten A. Loepelmann said...

Update: Here's an updated link to The Synesthesia Project at Boston University.

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