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How to raise your IQ

By on January 23, 2015
Picture courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and

In NLP the word ‘synesthesia’ has a specific meaning that differs from the its usual meaning. In NLP ‘synesthesia’ refers to an external sensory experience that leads immediately and unconsciously to an internal sensory experience in a different sense modality. If that sounds too complex, imagine seeing your favorite food, perhaps a nice bowl of ice-cream, hmmmmm!!!! The sight of the food leads to a feeling (hmmm) without any conscious intervention in between. Of course, synesthesias can also be more negative, someone with a fear of public speaking may feel immediate fear at the mere sight of an audience!

But in the ‘real world’ synesthesia has a different meaning. Rather than two sensory impressions, one that leads sequentially to another, it means two different senses that actually overlap. So for example a synesthete (someone with a synesthesia) might see color when they listen to music. Or they might smell a scent whenever they feel an emotion. Most commonly people who have a synesthesia have only one, so that only one external sense leads to one internal sense.

Up until recently it was thought that synesthesia was a random accident of birth or upbringing, and that no-one could be trained to be a synesthete. However Prof. Daniel Bor and his colleagues from the University of Sussex in England released research in October of last year that suggest otherwise. In this research study, a group of adults were trained to become synesthetes by associating a letter with a color. Their synesthesia was then tested using various versions of the stroop test.

For those who are unfamiliar, the stroop test, it involves printing a word, say the word ‘red’, in different color texts (so perhaps the word ‘red’ would be printed in green text, and the word ‘blue’ in yellow text and so on. The subjects reaction time in naming the colors depends upon whether the text color is the same as the word, or different. People with synesthesia can be tested in a similar way, for example if a synesthete associates the letter ‘B’ with the color ‘blue’ then their reaction time will be different depending on whether the letter is printed in blue text, or yellow text. For a non-synesthete, the reaction time will be the same.

The subjects in the research study were trained to exhibit reactions to the strop test that were identical to those of natural synesthetes; for all practical purposes they had become synesthetes.

However, remarkable as that result is, it is not the most remarkable portion of the research. As a result of the experiment, the subjects also experienced an average 12 point increase in their IQ! It is unclear whether this was a result of the synesthesia itself, or the mental exercises involved in the experiment. Either way, it’s a pretty impressive result!

Non-synesthetic adult participants engaged in an extensive training regime that involved adaptive memory and reading tasks, designed to reinforce 13 specific letter-color associations. Following training, subjects exhibited a range of standard behavioral and physiological markers for grapheme-color synesthesia. Adults Can Be Trained to Acquire Synesthetic Experiences : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

Picture courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and

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