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Exploring the Mind pres.

UM Psychology Community Talk: Listening to shades of blue: What is special about the brain of a synesthete?

Dr. David Brang, Assistant Professor of Psychology

David Brang David Brang
David Brang
Abstract: Synesthesia is an automatic and involuntary phenomenon in which one sensory modality evokes additional experiences in an unrelated modality (e.g., sounds evoking colors or tastes). Synesthesia is also associated with other psychological/neurological differences that can lead to savant-like traits. What is special about the brains' of synesthetes that leads to these experiences in only 4% of the population? And, if synesthetes’ brains are different, why can non-synesthetes acquire these sensations following drug-use or sensory deprivation? Dr. Brang will review wide-ranging evidence for synesthesia as a continuum of experiences that are present in the general population, neurobiological models underlying synesthesia-like phenomena, as well as the consequences of having synesthesia.

Bio: David Brang is an Assistant Professor in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience area in the Department of Psychology, where he directs the Multisensory Perception Lab. He received his BA in Cognitive Science and PhD in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and completed Post-Doctoral Fellowships at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. His research examines how the sensory systems (such as vision and hearing) influence one another in order to enable sensory signal recovery after brain damage or disease.

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