Synaesthesia: A window into abnormal perceptual experiences

Synaesthesia is a fascinating condition in which individuals can experience tactile sensations when they taste foods or perceive colours when they hear sounds. Very little is known about the brain activity underlying this condition. Although synaesthesia occurs in healthy people, synaesthetic experiences are reminiscent of the abnormal perceptions that occur in other disorders such as schizophrenia. Dr. Daniel Smilek is using neuroimaging techniques to investigate the brain activity associated with this condition. Results from the research could provide insight into the brain processes involved with abnormal perception in various syndromes, such as schizophrenia, as well as the processes underlying perception in normal individuals.