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For people with synesthesia, ordinary stimuli such as music, numbers, or words are imbued with an “extra” perceptual quality not shared by most members of the population. Music may trigger swirling shapes, numbers may have color, or words may evoke localized taste sensations felt in the mouth. For people who have synesthesia, such experiences are considered completely normal, and they can't imagine a world without them. The absence of any obvious outward manifestation of having synesthesia has contributed to its historical obscurity in scientific research. However, much of the contemporary research is interested in the cognitive and neural basis of conscious perceptual experiences, and synesthesia is back on the scientific agenda. Synesthesia also turns out to be far more common than previously believed. Recent prevalence ...

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