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How does violin music smell? What does the reflection of trees in a lake sound like? What color is Thursday? To most people, these questions might seem completely nonsensical, but to people with synesthesia they sound perfectly reasonable. (I've known for as long as I can remember that Thursday is a fuzzy, light olive green. Isn't it?) Synesthesia is a perceptual condition in which there is an involuntary blending of one or more of the senses. The most common form is chromagraphemia, the associating of colors with numbers and letters — but the sense-mingling can get a lot weirder. A synesthete might see moving blobs of color when tasting foods, or taste specific flavors upon hearing certain words. Some savants with computer-like math skills describe being able to see the shapes and colors of the numbers they're calculating! Once dismissed as a product of an overly active imagination, artistic fancy, drug use or even just craziness, synesthesia is finally being recognized as having a biological basis. UC Berkeley's Lynn Robertson will tell us about the current research on this intriguing condition.

ABOUT THE SERIES: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining, casual science lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a current topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries.

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on August 26, 2007