Monthly Archives: July 2011

Added more stuff to IMLM article

I have added more stuff to my article in which I have described the experience that I have named the “Involuntary Method of Loci Memorization”. I take this all very seriously, you know.

Involuntary Method of Loci Memorization (IMLM) – what the heck is that?


Concept to scene synaesthesia: my experiences and others’ experiences

Synaesthesia linking concepts with scenes – maybe not so hard to explain, and maybe not really so strange? (includes comments)

Invitation for comments (includes comments)

Another case of synaesthesia linking scenes and concepts, from Austin in Texas?

A brief report on my synaesthesia experiences that involve concepts as triggers or evoked experiences

Why the big deal? Redefining synaesthesia.

The more important posts in this blog

A Most Peculiar Experience (my description of The Strange Phenomenon)

Involuntary Method of Loci Memorization (IMLM) – what the heck is that?

The Opposite of Benson’s Syndrome?

Report on my fine motor task -> visual place memory synaesthesia

My Brain Put to the Test

A brief report on my synaesthesia experiences that involve concepts as triggers or evoked experiences

Super-recognizer test? Forget it mate!

The Models – I Hear motion (1983)

The Models probably didn’t have motion -> sound synaesthesia in mind when they wrote this tune, but I still like it. In 1983 there was nothing wrong with a straight young man looking very beautiful. Such a pity about James Freud. Such beauty is never forgotten.

Why the big deal? Redefining synaesthesia.

You might be wondering why I am so interested in documenting and naming the various types of synaesthesia that I experience which appear to have never been reported scientifically or anecdotally before, experiences such as concept -> scene synaesthesia, fine motor task -> scene synaesthesia and The Strange Phenomenon. You might also be wondering why I’m so excited to find that there are other people who report experiences that seem to fall into the category of concept -> scene synesthesia. These three types of synaesthesia are, I believe, of scientific importance because they are indeed synaesthesia, but they also violate the third criteria for identifying synaesthesia that was stated years ago by the US neurologist and pioneer of synesthesia science, Richard Cytowic. Cytowic’s list of synaesthesia criteria can be seen at the Wikipedia’s article about synaesthesia. Criteria number three is thus:

3. Synesthetic percepts are consistent and generic (i.e., simple rather than pictorial).

My experiences of concept -> scene synaesthesia, fine motor task -> scene synaesthesia and The Strange Phenomenon range from very consistent to fairly consistent, but the visual synaesthesia experiences triggered in these types of synaesthesia are most certainly not “generic” or simple. These are most certainly pictorial experiences, they are visual memories of landscape scenes and of one particular face.

I’m not too alarmed that I have synaesthesia experiences that don’t appear to conform to some rules of synaesthesia definition, because as I’ve seen during the years that I’ve been reading about this fascinating neurological condition, the definition of synaesthesia has been changing a lot over the years, and is still in the process of evolution and scientific development, as is abundantly clear from Dr Julia Simner’s recent journal paper about defining synaesthesia. I hope you find this as interesting as I do!


External references

Simner, Julia Defining synaesthesia. British Journal of Psychology. 2010 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20939943

Wikipedia contributors Synesthesia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.


In the works

It’s very late and I should have been in bed hours ago, but I thought I’d let you know I’ve half-written some reflections on The Strange Phenomenon and the CFMT in which I might reveal what I believe is my advantage in the CFMT, a strategy that I believe involves mental machinery that also gives rise to one of the many types of synaesthesia that I experience. Funny thing, I’ve recently read about a certified prosopagnosic successfully using a similar strategy in the CFMT.

Another interesting comment, another interesting case!

Check out my new section of links!

I can’t figure out how to change the title of my links section. It says “blogroll” which isn’t approriate, as most of my links are to things that aren’t blogs.

Face recognition apparently a big deal in Perth

“Western Australia’s Police Minister Rob Johnson will propose a law to the Western Australia Cabinet that makes it an offense to not remove headgear, including motorcycle helmets as well as burqas, when asked to do so by police.”

So, apparently in Western Australia the ability of police to identify people by face is considered a very important thing. So, could I ask, are WA police scientifically screened for prosopagnosia before they enter police training? I have doubts that they are. It would be an absurd situation for a police officer with poor face recognition ability to ask anyone to remove a burqa or a motorbike helmet for the purpose of identification. Indeed, such a police officer shouldn’t be expected to identify people by face in court proceedings. I think the days are over when we can all assume in workplace situations that everyone has good or average face recognition abilities, and design procedures and systems based on that assumption. That assumption should be considered wrong untill scientifically demonstrated otherwise.

Read more:


The Cambridge Face Memory Test appears to have nothing to do with that English university, Simon Baron-Cohen or autism

Some people seem to be mistakenly assuming that the CFMT is  a thing that came from the University of Cambridge in the UK. This is not an unreasonable assumption, but I’m pretty sure it is wrong. One of the originators of this test is Ken Nakayama, who at the time worked at the Vision Science Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. The other academic who created this test was Brad Duchaine, who was working at the University College in London, not Cambridge Uni.

As far as I can tell this test is in no way connected to the University of Cambridge in the UK, or to the famous autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen who works at that university, and who has written a lot about face processing in relation to autism. I do wonder about the choice of a name for the CFMT.

Duchaine, Brad & Nakayama, Ken
The Cambridge Face Memory Test: Results for neurologically intact
individuals and an investigation of its validity using inverted
face stimuli and prosopagnosic participants.
Neuropsychologia 44 (2006) 576–585.