V.S. Ramachandran and E.M. Hubbard
Synaesthesia: A Window Into Perception, Thought and Language  abstract


Sean Hargens
Intersubjective Musings: A Response to Christian de Quincey’s  ‘The Promise of Integralism’ abstract


Keith Sutherland
Consciousness and Emotion: JCS reviews a new journal  full text


Mark Wormald
David Lodge, Thinks . . .
Dimiter G. Chakalov
Robert J. Sternberg (ed), The Nature of Cognition
John Dance
Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, The Primacy of Movement
Rahul Banerjee
A.K. Mukhopadhyay, The Millennium Bridge
Amy Ione
Robert Pepperell and Michael Punt, The Postdigital Membrane
Paul Marshall
Peter B. Lloyd, Consciousness and Berkeley’s Metaphysics
Peter B. Lloyd, Paranormal Phenomena and Berkeley’s Metaphysics


Title Index
Author Index


V.S. Ramachandran and E.M. Hubbard

Synaesthesia — A Window Into Perception, Thought and Language

We investigated grapheme–colour synaesthesia and found that: (1) The induced colours led to perceptual grouping and pop-out, (2) a grapheme rendered invisible through ‘crowding’ or lateral masking induced synaesthetic colours — a form of blindsight — and (3) peripherally presented graphemes did not induce colours even when they were clearly visible. Taken collectively, these and other experiments prove conclusively that synaesthesia is a genuine perceptual phenomenon, not an effect based on memory associations from childhood or on vague metaphorical speech. We identify different subtypes of number–colour synaesthesia and propose that they are caused by hyperconnectivity between colour and number areas at different stages in processing; lower synaesthetes may have cross-wiring (or cross-activation) within the fusiform gyrus, whereas higher synaesthetes may have cross-activation in the angular gyrus. This hyperconnectivity might be caused by a genetic mutation that causes defective pruning of connections between brain maps. The mutation may further be expressed selectively (due to transcription factors) in the fusiform or angular gyri, and this may explain the existence of different forms of synaesthesia. If expressed very diffusely, there may be extensive cross-wiring between brain regions that represent abstract concepts, which would explain the link between creativity, metaphor and synaesthesia (and the higher incidence of synaesthesia among artists and poets). Also, hyperconnectivity between the sensory cortex and amygdala would explain the heightened aversion synaesthetes experience when seeing numbers printed in the ‘wrong’ colour. Lastly, kindling (induced hyperconnectivity in the temporal lobes of temporal lobe epilepsy [TLE] patients) may explain the purported higher incidence of synaesthesia in these patients. We conclude with a synaesthesia-based theory of the evolution of language. Thus, our experiments on synaesthesia and our theoretical framework attempt to link several seemingly unrelated facts about the human mind. Far from being a mere curiosity, synaesthesia may provide a window into perception, thought and language.

Correspondence: Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. 0109, La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, e-mail:

Sean Hargens

Intersubjective Musings. A Response to Christian de Quincey’s ‘The Promise of Integralism’

This essay highlights the problematic way in which Christian de Quincey has interpreted Ken Wilber’s approach to intersubjectivity. By redressing de Quincey’s account, I have sought to offer a more nuanced understanding of Wilber’s actual position and also to demonstrate ways in which Wilber’s ‘all-quadrant, all-level’ framework can serve the multivalent nature of intersubjectivity more comprehensively than hitherto accomplished by any approach to consciousness. Toward these ends the essay is divided into three parts. The first part sets the stage by examining de Quincey’s treatment of Wilber’s polemic period, the ontological status of ‘feelings’, and how Wilber’s treatment of intersubjectivity can lead to misunderstandings. The second part takes a close look at how both de Quincey and Wilber approach intersubjectivity. I will concentrate on exposing how de Quincey’s failure to observe Wilber’s use of key terms (e.g., interpretation, mutual understanding) leads him to offer up something that is already contained and surpassed in Wilber’s writings/model. The third part (re)examines key passages from Wilber that de Quincey is using to buttress his argument. In the conclusion I summarize de Quincey’s pitfalls and offer some reflections on the need for a multidimensional framework for intersubjectivity.

Correspondence: Sean Hargens, California Institute of Integral Studies. Email:

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