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robertogreco : marycalkins   1

Magnetic Letters Taught Us More Than How to Spell
"Psychologists are still studying “colored hearing.” They call it synesthesia, and it’s expanded to include more than just colors associated with hearing a letter spoken out loud. Associations between letters and colors are the most common form of synesthesia, but you can also get associations between numbers and colors, sounds and smells, even swimming styles and colors.

In 2012, Nathan Witthoft, then a Ph.D. student in psychology at MIT, put group of synesthetes through a series of color-matching tests. During the course of the study, he noticed something odd.  “For this one person, every sixth letter was the same color,” he said. “When I asked them why, they said they had learned it from this toy”—specifically, from the plastic letters included in Fisher-Price’s School Days Desk playset.

Today, those plastic letters are at the center of a scientific debate over what synesthesia is and how it begins. For more than a century scientists have been asking how synesthetes’ brains make connections between colors and letters. Now, it turns out that question could have implications for everyone—how we learn and how we remember.

The School Days Desk came out in 1972. It was one of the first projects toy designer Victor Reiling worked on for Fisher-Price. Just a couple years before, Reiling had been the captain of a Navy ship stationed off the coast of Vietnam."
synesthesia  children  childhood  2016  psychology  colors  toys  letters  words  maggiekoerth-baker  marycalkins  nathanwitthoft 
march 2016 by robertogreco

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