For this first assignment, you need to read about synesthesia in the Synesthesia Project (Links to an external site.), outlining the characteristics of this very interesting phenomenon.

Background: When it comes to understanding the mind and how it works, we all suffer from specific limitations. We may claim that we know our own mind, most of the time, but this knowledge stops when we try to extend it to someone’s else mind. A clear example is synesthesia (Links to an external site.), a phenomenon experienced by only a small fraction of the population. The main element in synesthesia is the confabulation of two different senses (i.e. smell & vision, or more commonly, sounds & colors) producing a unique perception, not commonly available to the rest of individuals. “In one form of synesthesia, perception of a letter induces the phenomenal experience of color, with each letter inducing its own distinct color.” (Grossenbacher & Lovelace, 2001). The relationship is unidirectional, “if sounds induce the experience of colors, colors typically do not induce the experience of sounds.”

Objective: For this assignment, we assume that most of you will not be affected by this phenomenon (You can test yourself for it here (Links to an external site.)). If you do, please, let your teammates know. The objective of this assignment is to try to create a picture of what a synesthete experiences in his/her daily activities. Building such kind of models may help us appreciate the difficulty involved in creating a model of the mind itself.

Goal: Based on what you know so far about how the human mind works, and the examples discussed in the main reading, create a model or a scenario of what a synesthete may experience in their daily life. You can use any example or any set of stimuli to do this (for example, you can use Shannon communication model (Links to an external site.)). You can make it as simple or as complicated as you may want it. The point is to show to somebody else (your mom, for example), what does it mean to be a synesthete.

You have absolute freedom to design your model but it has to stay within the limits of cognitive psychology. This means that every model your team proposes has to be steeped in cognitive theories and how the mind works.

You can present your designs in any kind of media: a written report listing recommendations, a powerpoint, or, better yet, a word document with a summary of the proposed model or, even a video or a sound file. However, they all have to have a direct relationship with human cognition.


Sample Solution