Seeing Sounds, Hearing Colors: UMSL Professor Researches Rare Condition

Feb 4, 2013

Synesthesia is a complex and rare condition in which input from one sense is perceived through another sense.

The abilities of people to see what they hear or hear what they see are just two examples.

A significant amount of research into the condition is being conducted at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

"St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh spoke with UMSL philosophy professor Brit Brogaard and with UMSL philosophy graduate student Kristian Marlow, who participated in the research.

Also joining the program were two synesthetes:

  • Daniel Kish is a development psychologist who has been blind for nearly all his life.  He is an expert in human echolocation and through his nonprofit organization teaches blind people to see through sound.
  • Derek Amato woke up after a concussion and discovered he could play the piano without any training or practice.

Editorial note: A previous version of this story identified Brit Brogaard as the director of the St. Louis Synesthesia Lab at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Kristian Marlow as the lab’s associate director. Those titles are incorrect, but it is Brit Brogaard’s area of expertise.  The original audio has not been altered. (Feb. 4, 2013, and Sept. 10, 2013)