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> Color-blind synesthesia, Evidence for/against the existence of qualia?
post Mar 12, 2007, 05:20 AM
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Quick summary: There is a person whose eyes don't allow him to see certain colors (color-blindness), but who can perceive those colors due to a condition (grapheme-color synesthesia) that makes him see colors when he sees numbers. Evidence for/against existence of qualia?

I recently read an article on SciAm about an individual discovered by V.S. Ramachandran with the following ability:

"We also observed one case in which we believe cross activation enables a colorblind synesthete to see numbers tinged with hues he otherwise cannot perceive; charmingly, he refers to these as "Martian colors." Although his retinal color receptors cannot process certain wavelengths, we suggest that his brain color area is working just fine and being cross-activated when he sees numbers."

He also discusses it further here:

"The effect is most obvious and pronounced in the colorblind synesthetes, but occurs in "regular" synesthetes as well. The colors evoked by cross activation in the fusiform gyrus "bypass" earlier stages of color processing in the brain, which may confer an unusual tint to the colors evoked. This is important for understanding the phenomenon of synesthesia, because it suggests that the qualia label--that is, the subjective experience of the color sensation--depends not merely on the final stages of processing but on the total pattern of neural activity, including earlier stages."

What do you think of this individual's ability to "see" colors that he can't - and presumably never could - physically see. Is this evidence for/against qualia? Is it simply evidence for the fact that our brains utilize some sort of "spectrum of interpretation" for colors, so that even though these individuals have never seen the colors elsewhere, their brains will interpolate from other data?

Any other thoughts?
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brian0918   Color-blind synesthesia   Mar 12, 2007, 05:20 AM
lucid_dream   I don't believe it   Mar 12, 2007, 12:37 PM
Rick   I believe it, but I also think that anyone who nee...   Mar 12, 2007, 01:22 PM
lucid_dream   this has nothing to do with the existence of quali...   Mar 12, 2007, 01:27 PM
brian0918   this has nothing to do with the existence of qual...   Mar 12, 2007, 08:31 PM
lucid_dream   maybe his brain is doing some sort of interpolatio...   Mar 12, 2007, 09:25 PM
brian0918   [quote name='brian0918' post='77181' date='Mar 12...   Mar 13, 2007, 05:03 AM
lucid_dream   What's so hard to believe about this? It's...   Mar 13, 2007, 06:21 PM
brian0918   What's so hard to believe about this? It...   Mar 14, 2007, 06:02 AM
lucid_dream   It's only irreproducibly complex if you follow...   Mar 14, 2007, 07:39 AM
brian0918   [quote name='brian0918' post='77222' date='Mar 14...   Mar 14, 2007, 10:35 AM
Rick   Astronauts see flashes of light when cosmic rays i...   Mar 12, 2007, 01:34 PM
Rick   Didn't you know that musical tones have color?...   Mar 13, 2007, 08:01 AM
brian0918   Didn't you know that musical tones have color...   Mar 13, 2007, 09:57 AM
lucid_dream   I mean that I believe that what we perceive is dep...   Mar 14, 2007, 11:44 AM
brian0918   The central issue is whether the "Martian co...   Mar 14, 2007, 12:41 PM
Rick   I have never seen music colored with colors outsid...   Mar 14, 2007, 02:55 PM
Layman_Sam   Ramachandran gave a speech at IBM Almaden Inst. la...   Aug 04, 2007, 06:24 PM
cerebral   can be found at googlevideo: " The Uniqueness...   Aug 05, 2007, 11:04 AM
Layman_Sam   can be found at googlevideo: " The Uniquenes...   Aug 06, 2007, 10:30 AM
Layman_Sam   scientificblogging com/news/seeing_the_colors_in_m...   Aug 09, 2007, 07:38 PM

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