Aroma Science Forum. Fragrance Foundation Tokyo, Japan. Sept 3 2004
AIST Natl Inst. Adv. Industrial Sciences & Technology Osaka, Japan Sept 6
Aroma’s Implicit Gateway to Cognition
Japanese culture understands “synesthesia” as metaphoric whereas it hardly knows the perceptual phenomenon. Possible explanations include a cultural attitude of interrelated experience, Buddhism, and Nishida Kitaro’s type of phenomenal philosophy.
Taste and smell account for only a small percentage of synesthesiae, but hold important clues. Aroma distinctively modifies emotions and behavior unconsciously and automatically. Neural networks explain how fragrance–activated multisensory perceptions and memories can subsequently inspire creative associations, metaphors, and verbal concepts.
The early engagement of limbic structures by olfaction (only three synapses removed from hippocampus instead of the usual five) stresses implicit processing, which is precisely what makes it a promising gateway to other cognitive domains.
UCLA Brain Research Institute. Wednesday February 5, 2003, 9 am – 4 pm
Contradictions to Conventions of Brain Organization
Synesthesia obviously contradicts many conventions, especially modularity, which organizes both cognition and neural tissue into self–contained subsystems whose restricted input–output is supposed to be uninfluenced by other modules.
This talk discusses similarities in sensory transformation, distributed schemes of neural organization, and the capacity for anomalous sensory binding that is latent in everyone’s brain. It offers suggestions to engineers who model networks on human biology.