- cognition (2) (remove)
- Semantic mechanisms may be responsible for developing synesthesia (2014)
- Currently, little is known about how synesthesia develops and which aspects of synesthesia can be acquired through a learning process. We review the increasing evidence for the role of semantic representations in the induction of synesthesia, and argue for the thesis that synesthetic abilities are developed and modified by semantic mechanisms. That is, in certain people semantic mechanisms associate concepts with perception-like experiences—and this association occurs in an extraordinary way. This phenomenon can be referred to as “higher” synesthesia or ideasthesia. The present analysis suggests that synesthesia develops during childhood and is being enriched further throughout the synesthetes’ lifetime; for example, the already existing concurrents may be adopted by novel inducers or new concurrents may be formed. For a deeper understanding of the origin and nature of synesthesia we propose to focus future research on two aspects: (i) the similarities between synesthesia and ordinary phenomenal experiences based on concepts; and (ii) the tight entanglement of perception, cognition and the conceptualization of the world. Importantly, an explanation of how biological systems get to generate experiences, synesthetic or not, may have to involve an explanation of how semantic networks are formed in general and what their role is in the ability to be aware of the surrounding world.
- Neural synchrony in cortical networks : history, concept and current status (2009)
- Following the discovery of context-dependent synchronization of oscillatory neuronal responses in the visual system, the role of neural synchrony in cortical networks has been expanded to provide a general mechanism for the coordination of distributed neural activity patterns. In the current paper, we present an update of the status of this hypothesis through summarizing recent results from our laboratory that suggest important new insights regarding the mechanisms, function and relevance of this phenomenon. In the first part, we present recent results derived from animal experiments and mathematical simulations that provide novel explanations and mechanisms for zero and nero-zero phase lag synchronization. In the second part, we shall discuss the role of neural synchrony for expectancy during perceptual organization and its role in conscious experience. This will be followed by evidence that indicates that in addition to supporting conscious cognition, neural synchrony is abnormal in major brain disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. We conclude this paper with suggestions for further research as well as with critical issues that need to be addressed in future studies.