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Hidden Sense (Leonardo Book Series) Paperback – 30 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; Reprint edition (30 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262514079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262514071
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"In The Hidden Sense, Cretien van Campen, a self-styled naturalist of synaesthesia, explores this ground, providing a gentle, insightful, often personal, account of coloured words, smells, tones, pains, even orgasms, that will fascinate scientists, artists, synaesthetes and others. Slowly, this deep, seemingly intractable, subjectivity yields to some phenomenology, simple questionnaires, elegant experiments, a dash of neuroimaging, and much thought and reflection." -- Chris McManus, Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College London, Nature "Van Campen is a social scientist with some synaesthesia, who has thought deeply about the phenomenon, read widely, consulted leading scientists, and interviewed and tested ordinary and artistic people with many types of synaesthesia. 'Cases have been reported of synaesthetes who feel coloured pain, hear odours, hear tastes, taste sounds, feel sounds on their skin, hear images, and taste images', van Campen explains. He delves into this complexity with authority, subtlety, and charm, and the result is a generally accessible, concisely written, and thought provoking read." -- Andrew Robinson, The Lancet "Strongly relying on the latest scientific experiments (brains scans) as well as on a lifelong personal research on and with synesthetes (persons being able of synesthetic perception), the author manages to offer a discussion of synesthesia that is of interest for the specialists as well as for the broader public... The author's way of arguing finds always a good balance between direct experience (the testimonies of the many synesthetes with whom he has been working for many years now) and the scientific results of cognitive and neuroscientific research (of which he is able of giving very clear and readable reports and syntheses)." -- Jan Baetens, Professor of Literary Studies at the Leuven University, Belgium, Leonardo Reviews "This slim volume provides a good introduction to the fascinating phenomenon of synesthesia in art and science... A welcome addition to the growing literature on the subject." -- Simon Shaw-Miller, The Art Book "Even readers already familiar with synesthesia will find much to learn from Cretien van Campen's The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science. In clear and lucid prose, van Campen provides shimmering descriptions of synesthetic experiences as he explores the complex interplay between synesthesia in science and, especially, synesthesia in the arts. Although several of van Campen's stances on the science of synesthesia are debatable and controversial, agree with them or not, reading The Hidden Sense will broaden and deepen one's understanding of this fascinating set of phenomena." --Lawrence E. Marks, Director, John B. Pierce Laboratory, and Professor of Epidemiology and Psychology, Yale University "This is an extremely interesting, current, and well-written book that highlights a fascinating topic in synaesthesia research, namely the translation of synesthetes' experiences into art." --Hinderk Emrich, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover University, Germany "This slim, sparkling, sonorous volume is wonderfully rich and attention-holding. The Hidden Sense will be of profound interest to cognitive scientists, musicians, and other artists for the dialogue it enjoins between their respective domains of expertise. But it will especially appeal to the general reader for the lucidity of its exposition of the art and science of synesthesia, and the lively accounts it contains of the everyday experience of synesthetes in their own words." --David Howes, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University

About the Author

Cretien van Campen is a Senior Researcher at the Social and Cultural Planning Office of the Netherlands. He is the author of two books on perception and visual art.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this five stars as this is a book that gave me a very rounded and considered view of synesthesia. Other books, although worth reading, have not been so critical and engaging for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Artists, Different Learners, and Their Admirers 29 April 2011
By Jokie X Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the most complete, clear, and concise book on this topic that I have found to date. The anecdotal evidence is thorough without dominating the text. The explanation of what synesthesia is and is not is superb. The discussion about artists is intelligent end never gets corny. The art supplied as examples is not so much a review of great masters, but some imagery that clearly illustrates the concepts. While the book reflects the limitations of what is currently known about synesthesia, it is as contemporary as anything else I have read. It's an up-to-date, great read that will leave you prepared for what may be discovered next with this fascinating phenomenon.

Please see also my review of Synesthesia: Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience.
5.0 out of 5 stars Now You See It. Now You Don't 10 July 2016
By Runner Up - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great help in my research for my second novel. Highly recommended. Interesting layout and information within.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting...but slightly repetitive 23 Dec. 2014
By Srinath Ravichandran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Liked the real life examples. Liked the comprehensive analysis. Liked the detailed description of theories to explain synesthesia. At times I found it a little repetitive though.
Overall a good book to make the concept, nature of synesthesia less of a foreign topic to non synesthetes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cool 18 Dec. 2014
By butterfliegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a synesthete, I found the book enlightening and fascinating! Fun to read about people with similar experiences that I only recently learned was not exactly "normal" for everyone.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 9 Feb. 2017
By M.A. Wiggins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book!
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