Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Man Who Tasted Shapes by Richard E.…

The Man Who Tasted Shapes (1993)

by Richard E. Cytowic

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
325334,071 (3.73)12



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
I had previously bought and then culled this book, thinking I'd never have time to read it. When I found I had purchased another copy, I decided I should read it.

I've always been curious about how people with "blended senses" perceive things. The book describes one person who perceives shapes when tasting food, and another case where the person perceives colors when hearing sound. The book also contains an interesting chart showing how senses can be blended together (the technical term is "synesthesia") and its frequency. All the possibilities are quite rare.

The book has three themes: synesthesia, the biology of the brain and of perceptions, and the philosophy of perception and consciousness. Most of it is presented in the context of a detective story as the author encounters the people with synesthesia, attempts to scientifically validate their perceptions, and presents the findings to a skeptical scientific community.

An interesting read. ( )
  NLytle | May 18, 2015 |
It was very interesting and the main narrative was engaging. Towards the end though he goes off on this tangent about 'the primacy of emotion over reason' that heads straight into New Age territory. Worse the whole arguments are directed various 'straw man'.
If you just want to get an inside view on Synesthesia this is a good book for you. If your looking for trustworthy science then not so much. ( )
  Sosiles | Apr 26, 2008 |
An interesting book for synaesthetes. As the foreword suggests, it makes some provocative assertions (siting synaesthesia in the limbic system, and saying that, for humans, emotion, connected with that system, is biologically prior to ratiocination, with the cortex), based on the author's own researches up to 1993. The revised edition chooses not to amend the text in the light of more recent research (because, explicitly, that would spoil the 'story' of the reseach - emotion, here, before thought?), but places them in an afterword. Since this new research (to 2003) does alter the picture quite markedly, that is probably a wrong decision. An interesting account of one piece of fascinating scientific research, though, and Cytowic does allow himself to explore the scientific process more broadly that his precise subject might necessarily call for. Ironically, his 1993 conclusions are probably falsified to a degree by the very technological advances that he decries in the main text of the book. ( )
  Bibliophial | Jan 2, 2007 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To the Dearling and in memory of Reverend Clark A. Thompson and Michael O. Watson
First words
"Keep me company while I finish the sauce," Michael beckoned, pulling me away from the other guests.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0262532557, Paperback)

In 1980, Richard Cytowic was having dinner at a friend's house, when his host exclaimed, "Oh, dear, there aren't enough points on the chicken." With that casual comment began Cytowic's journey into the condition known as synesthesia.The ten people in one million who are synesthetes are born into a world where one sensation (such as sound) conjures up one or more others (such as taste or color). Although scientists have known about synesthesia for two hundred years, until now the condition has remained a mystery. Extensive experiments with more than forty synesthetes led Richard Cytowic to an explanation of synesthesia--and to a new conception of the organization of the mind, one that emphasized the primacy of emotion over reason.Because there were not enough points on chicken served at a dinner almost two decades ago, Cytowic came to explore a deeper reality that he believes exists in all individuals, but usually below the surface of awareness. In this medical detective adventure, he reveals the brain to be an active explorer, not just a passive receiver, and offers a new view of what it means to be human--a view that turns upside down conventional ideas about reason, emotion, and who we are.* Not for sale in the United Kingdom and Eire

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
49 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.73)
2 2
3 11
3.5 2
4 13
4.5 1
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,866,290 books! | Top bar: Always visible