Academic journal article British and American Studies

Synesthesia - a Link across the Senses in Achieving Business Excellence with Nlp

Academic journal article British and American Studies

Synesthesia - a Link across the Senses in Achieving Business Excellence with Nlp

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Widely explored from two main perspectives, psychological and linguistic, synesthesia deals with the overlap between representational systems. In other words, synesthesia patterns evoke a person's innate capability to simultaneously link sensory processes and representations in a causal relationship. That is to say, creating synesthetic metaphors by using various sensory modalities accounts for intermixing sensory experiences to form, in more technical terms, see-feel, hear-feel, see-hear circuits.

The term synesthesia has a Greek origin, i.e. syn is the equivalent of "together", and aisthesis has the meaning of "perception". As pointed out by Shenn (2008) and Dann (1999), synesthesia refers to the involuntary experience of a cross-modal association. According to Shenn (2008:107), "the stimulation of one sensory modality reliably creates a perception in one or more other senses, such as seeing a particular colour every time you hear a particular sound".

In neurolinguistic programming (henceforth NLP), these circuits are also called "fuzzy functions". Bandler and Grinder (1976:36) were the first to define them in this way when referring to: "Any modeling involving a representational system and either an input channel or an output channel in which the input or output channel involved is a different modality from a representational system with which it is being used". One can describe how one sees or feels the sounds one hears. For example, a person can feel relaxed when hearing an even-toned voice. Hearing a low tone (associated with the auditory input channel) and feeling calm and comfortable (associated with the kinesthetic representational system) is characterized as a "fuzzy function", since the sound overlapped onto the feeling (the physical and the emotional sensations).

2. Synesthesia and the directionality of mapping

Dilts and DeLozier (2000:906) state that the term overlap is used in NLP "to indicate the interconnection between two or more senses. We can 'overlap' images and sounds, for example, such as when, for example, we see internal pictures as we listen to music. Sounds or images may also be overlapped onto feelings, producing 'see-feel circuits', in which a person derives feelings from what he or she sees (e.g., feeling panic when looking over the edge of a tall building), and 'hear-feel circuits', in which a person gets feelings from what he or she hears (e.g., feeling soothed by a particular tone of voice)". Consequently, synesthesia as a cognitive process links every NLP submodality to a certain extent. Images and feelings interconnect, significantly changing the quality or the intensity of an experience. On the one hand, the brightness or dimness of an image often leads to a stronger or weaker feeling of comfort - discomfort, friendliness - unfriendliness, warmness - coldness, hence a shift in intensity. On the other hand, the colour (metallic green or lilac) / size (large-small) / focus (clear-fuzzy) of an image may provoke/trigger the temperature of a feeling. Therefore, mapping across the senses automatically generates new and resourceful responses due to the permanent shift in perception as it is obvious in the following diagram:

O'Connor (2001:61) argues that overlapping evokes the NLP techniques of pacing and leading through the sequence of representational systems used. This is commonly encountered in presenting and selling products, and is characterized by the move from one sensory system to another, inviting people to have clear images, hear sounds, or have strong feelings which may influence their internal impulses. Moreover, O'Connor distinguishes between strategy and synesthesia, pointing out that "Synesthesias happen naturally and are the basis of artistic and creative work. They are different from strategies. A strategy is a sequence of representations. In a synesthesia the representations occur simultaneously" (O'Connor 2001:62, emphasis added). …

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