25% Of People Can "Hear" Light

Posted: Jan 18 2017, 7:23pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

25% of People Can "Hear" Light
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Scientists report that one in five people has something called synesthesia, a phenomenon in which flashes of light or other visual movements are "heard" as faint sounds. These findings suggest that many more people than initially thought experience some form of cross-wiring in their senses. 

Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University and the study’s lead author, said: “A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognize.”

There are more florid forms of synaesthesia in only about 2–4% of the population. To a synaesthete, the number twelve might appear yellow or a word like Kevin may "taste" like evergreen, for instance.

This latest work is one the second piece published on the theory, suggests that many of us experience a less intrusive version of the condition where movements or flashes are accompanied by sounds. Since these movements are a part of everyday life, they can very difficult to discern from what is normal.

“These internal sounds seem to be perceptually real enough to interfere with the detection of externally-generated sounds,” said Freeman. “The finding that this ‘hearing-motion’ phenomenon seems to be much more prevalent compared to other synaesthesias might occur due to the strength of the natural connection between sound and vision.”

In the study, which was published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, forty participants were presented with pairs of auditory or visual Morse-code like patterns and had to determine whether they were the same or different sequences.

Of the 40 participants, 22%, a higher number than anticipated, reported that they heard sounds accompanying the visual flashes in the "Morse-code" task, according to The Guardian.

“My data suggests there are two kinds of people,” said Freeman. “Those who generate sounds deliberately and those who get the internal sounds without trying.”

In the second task, participants had to detect faint sounds that were similar to those given in audiology tests that were presented with and without irrelevant visual flashes.

Those who scored better on the Morse-code task also found that the irrelevant light flashing was more distracting, suggesting that the visual stimuli was acting as an internal background noise.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.

 

 

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