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Art Blog: "Blue Cats Mews"
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"Sometimes described as a blending of perceptions, synesthesia occurs when one of the five senses is aroused, yet two respond."



How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds

By Patricia Lynne Duffy

Foreword by Dr. Peter Grossenbacher,
National Institute of Mental Health
Blue Cats Cover

"Nature, so endlessly creative, has managed things so that each of us, hosts of synesthesia or not, perceives a slightly different world... a world colored by our one-of-a-kind pattern of neurons and experiences" -- Patricia Lynne Duffy

"Synesthesia, the phenomenon whereby one sense is stimulated and another also responds i.e., when words have colors or tastes have shapes is not newly discovered (Rimbaud, Liszt and Nabokov were famously synesthetic), but the condition has hardly been discussed, much less systematically researched." That's why I put a link to Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds above. Buy the book! It's weird stuff."
                              -- Biz Stone, founder of Twitter 

"This book is a delight.  Synesthesia is usually called a medical (specifically a neurological) condition, but Duffy's account persuades me that we should regard gift of enriched perception...She is fortunate enough to be both a journalist and a synesthete, with the gift for communicating clearly about her other gift...Her account is not only moving and evocative, but historical and scientific."

--Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University,
                                Department of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry        

"...true synesthetes are rare.  So are books about them.  This one, by synesthete Patricia Duffy...provides a rich panoply of sensory experiences that we can share vicariously."

--Psychology Today

"...the book is a fun and worthwhile read.  Whether you're a nonsynesthete amused by colored words and shapely smells or a synesthete annoyed with the notion of a "cat" being a blue word (when it's clearly brown), either way, you'll shake your head and marvel."


"Duffy's book is a thought-provoking glimpse at how much is lurking in other people's minds - and how little we know about it." [see whole review]

--Detroit Free Press

"...Duffy opens the [synesthesia] story wider to take in the rest of humanity, among whom, William James observed, no two people perceive the world exactly alike.  Synesthesia is closely connected to creativity, having affected Vladimir Nabokov, David Hockney, Arthur Rimbaud and Richard Feynman, to name a few."

                              --New York Daily News

"Duffy, herself a synesthete, shares with readers what it's like to have such perceptions.  She also relates stories of other synesthetes, including physicist Richard Feynman and artist David Hockney."

                              --Science News

"It took technology like PET scans to confirm the unusual brain patterns of synesthesia, but some artists of the past - Lizst, Rimbaud, and Nabokov, for example - seem to have experienced it.  Duffy describes her own personal experiences and that of several contemporary artists in examining the phenomenon as a special case of "personal coding" scientists now recognize as a vital aspect of brain development."


"As a synesthete myself, I know this book's description of synesthesia is accurate and true.  It tells the real story."

                              --The Ottawa Citizen

For, author Pat Duffy has chosen a webmaster with an appropriately blue name: