The May issue of Scientific American carries an article on synesthesia by Vilnayanur S. Ramachandran and Edward M. Hubbard called Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes. Synesthesia -- "a condition in which otherwise normal people experience the blending of two or more senses" -- is an intimately familiar phenomenon to me, and I am delighted to see it moving out of the shadow-realm of anecdotal claims to the illumination of methodical quantification. From the article:
Our insights into the neurological basis of synesthesia could help explain some of the creativity of painters, poets and novelists. According to one study, the condition is seven times as common in creative people as in the general population...One skill that many creative people share is a facility for using metaphor....It is as if their brains are set up to make links between seemingly unrelated domains--such as the sun and a beautiful young woman. In other words, just as synesthesia involves making arbitrary links between seemingly unrelated perceptual entities such as colors and numbers, metaphor involves making links between seemingly unrelated conceptual realms.