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Synaesthesia

Agosto 2017
La sinestesia è una contaminazione dei sensi, chi ne è affetto, per esempio, vede lettere o suoni... a colori! Studi scientifici sostengono che la sinestesia si può imparare, anzi che conviene farlo: aiuta a migliorare il proprio quoziente intellettivo.

di John O’Reilly © British Council

File audio:

clicca qui per andare alla relativa traccia audio (contrassegnata dalla scritta "speaker")


Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accents)

Increase your IQ and your memory: learn synaesthesia! Some creative people see colours when they hear different sounds. Others see colours when they see words and numbers printed in black and white. These interesting people are called synaesthetes, and what they experience is called synaesthesia.

MEMORY

A study at the University of Sussex is finding out how learning to see sounds as colours or think of letters in colour could improve your IQ and memory.
Study leaders Dr Daniel Bor and Dr Nicolas Rothen have been working on memory for a number of years. They want to see which parts of the brain do different jobs. Dr Bor says that carrying out these tests has given them the opportunity to find out more about how we use different kinds of memory.

a new science

He explains that Professor Simon Baron- Cohen of the University of Cambridge was largely responsible for beginning the modern science of synaesthesia in the 1980s. "He created a test to try and find out whether the experiences that synaesthetes have are the same over time. The tests showed that synaesthesia was real, and this made lots of scientists in different places want to do similar research. They wanted to know what synaesthesia is – what different kinds there are, and what creates it in the first place."

what's your number?

Dr Bor based his research around something scientists already know a lot about – "chunking." He explains that this is a way of breaking large pieces of information into smaller units – or "chunks" – to make it easier to remember. "When I give you my phone number, 01274737215, you probably remember it as 012 74 73 72 15, or something similar. If you can remember 012 and the first 74, you can remember the rest. You can get some amazing benefits from chunking."
This is really important for understanding synaesthesia. Dr Bor says that synaesthesia adds extra information to things that are difficult to remember, such as letters and numbers, or extra colours. This helps us remember things better.

SURPRISING RESULTS

There have been other studies showing the memory advantages of synaesthetes. “Synaesthesia is connected to greater abilities to do certain things, certain jobs," says Dr Bor. Scientists wanted to see if they could create a way to learn synaesthesia, and develop those benefits for everyone.
They developed the study from an idea by Dr Nicolas Rothen, who had trained people for 10 minutes a day for a week. The results were not huge, but they were interesting.

MORE INTELLIGENT

They discovered that, after training, people were able to pass the normal synaesthesia tests, and their IQ jumped up about 12 points! Although Dr Bor says they need to test the increase in IQ with different groups of people, the result is very interesting. "It’s rare to read about a study which increases people’s IQs. Especially when the group are already quite clever, like the students who took part in this study."
As Dr Bor says, "Synaesthetes, on the whole, are really pleased and proud that they are synaesthetes. They get a memory advantage and they see the world in this extra special way."


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