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Hannover Synaesthesia Research Group

Research group leader: Dr. med. Markus Zedler

Deutsche Version

Background

It's more common than you think. People with the innate gift of synaesthesia often hear not only with their ears. Other senses than those expected participate in the perception. In contrast to when you say "The eye eats too", e.g. in gustatory synaesthesia, taste alone can also produce colours when blindfolded. And in contrast to the expectation of yellow in the taste of a lemon, in synaesthesia predominantly colours are mixed completely unmetaphorically into the experience. The codings usually remain reliably consistent. Anyone who wants to say something and sees its colour before the word even occurs has a very interesting form of consciousness. This ability inspires thinking about how the brain permanently manages to include all of its twists and turns in an overall experience (hearing area, visual area, feelings, etc.). Intuition, gut feeling and spontaneity can be expected as quickly as the connections of the senses in synaesthetic perception. At least 5% of people are gifted with synaesthesia, a form of evolution. Connections, "binding", are central functions of the brain for the generation of consciousness. Where certain areas are more closely connected, there is an exciting field of research into how consciousness works. How does the brain make it that I can do something with what I experience? Reinforced functions can be measured. E.g. the increased coupling of hearing and sight where a sound triggers a colour. Synaesthesia as an intensified coupling is thus an exciting paradigm in consciousness research.

Overarching goals

The work of the group is characterized by three focal points: On the one hand, using the research results to better explain the functions of consciousness. On the other hand, synaesthesia itself should be better explained and learned from it. Against the background of the rarer affliction of mental illnesses in synaesthesia, it is also about the question of what can be learned from it for healing. While it is undoubtedly not a disease but a variant with many advantages, there are still challenges associated with synaesthesia in everyday life, especially in school, upbringing, relationships and medical characteristics such as the compatibility of psychotropic substances, researching a third major focus of synaesthesia research in Hanover.

Cooperations

  • Departamento de Psicología Experimental, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Granada, España

  • Departamento de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Granada, España

  • School of Psychology University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Research group members

Research group leader

Dr. med. Markus Zedler

Assistant medical director

Phone: +49 511 532 3165

zedler.markus@mh-hannover.de

Excellence at a glance: 

  • Founding member of the German Synaesthesia Association e.V.
  • Founding member of the Grupo de investigación Internacional de sinestesia/synesthesia, Spain
  • Delegate of the Fundación Internacional artecittà, Cuevas del Almanzora, Spain

Publications: Pubmed

 

Sekretariat

Cornelia Gerbothe

Phone: +49 511 532 6559

gerbothe.cornelia@mh-hannover.de