What it means to ‘feel the noise’ | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


News

What it means to ‘feel the noise’

Scientists explore overlapping sensations of sound, touch

By
1:59pm, May 26, 2011

SEATTLE — About a year and a half after her stroke, a 36-year-old professor started to feel sounds. A radio announcer’s voice made her tingle. Background noise in a plane felt physically uncomfortable.

Now Tony Ro, a neuroscientist at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, might have figured out the cause of this synesthesia. Sophisticated imaging of the woman’s brain revealed that new links had grown between its auditory part, which processes sound, and the somatosensory region, which handles touch.

“The auditory area of her brain started taking over the somatosensory area,” says Ro, who used diffusion tensor imaging, which focuses on the brain’s white matter connections, to spot the change.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News