Syn= together, + Aisthesis= Perception
Beginning in childhood, numbers became linked to Tammet’s perception of texture and color. However, synesthesia can present itself in forms spanning any of the five senses. Others may see bursts of color at the sound of a heavy rain or taste the spoken words of poetry. Psychologists theorize that savantism has enabled Daniel to take this exceptional sensory connection a few steps further by evolving an even more impressive repertoire of mental powers, incorporating them into systems of computation and memorization. When performing multiplication, Tammet sees each number in the operation as a distinct shape defined by its unique color, texture, and size. He then orients these numbers spatially and reads the negative space between them as a new number—the solution to the operation. He also learned the Icelandic language well enough over the course of a week's study to be interviewed on Icelandic television.
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