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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


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"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

PATRICIA LYNNE DUFFY is the author of Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color their Worlds (Henry Holt & Company), which has been reviewed in both the popular press as well as in academic journals, Cerebrum and the APA Review of Books. She has taught English at New York University, the City University of New York, and the UN Language Programme and has written articles for numerous publications including New York Newsday, the San Francisco Chronicle (All the Colors of the Rainbow), the Boston Globe, and the Village VoiceMs. Duffy wrote two award-winning essays, Taipei  Tales and Dining in French for literary newspaper, Literal Latte.  Her work is included in the anthologies They Only Laughed Later: Tales of Women on the Move (Europublic Press) and Soulful Living (HCI).  She is also the author of "Images of Synesthetes in Fiction".  She has worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia and lived and worked in China for a year and a half.

Her special interest is in what she terms "personal coding", the unique way in which each person codes information and makes a one-of-a-kind "inner map" of the world around them.  She has been interviewed about her research and her synesthesia by a number of publications including, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, Discover Magazine, and Newsweek, as well as on TV and radio programs such as National Public Radio, the BBC, Public Radio International, the Discovery Channel, Tokyo Television and Asahi TV. Her web site, which links to many articles and programs on synesthesia, is  Her two-part article, Personal Coding: the Varieties of Linguistic Experience, was published in August 2005 and January 2006 issues of Folio Journal of the Materials Development Association.  For her research into synesthesia and work organizing events to promote literacy (such as "Authors-for-Literacy"), Patricia Lynne Duffy won the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Patricia Lynne Duffy has been invited to give presentations on synesthesia at McMaster University, University of South Florida, Universidad de Almería (in Spain), the University of Hannover, the University of Texas at Houston, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Rockefeller University, the University of Virginia, the University of California at San Diego, Princeton University, Yale University and others.  She is a co-founder of and consultant to the American Synesthesia Association


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