Kiki/Bouba

November 17, 2007

I came across the following talk by Vilayanur Ramachandran on the TED site. Quite interesting !

The talk is brilliant and I learned some amazing things – like there must be something wrong with my fusiform gyrus. Yes, I must admit it, I am a “mutant”. When Ramachandran showed the figures, I thought Kiki was Bouba, and Bouba was Kiki, and not the other way around (as the 99% of you had it). Anyway, at least it shows I have no form of synesthesia. 🙂

Also, it would have been an interesting control experiment, to have people associate the figures with just the words, “kiki” and “bouba” without uttering them at all. A sort of a purely visual experiment. My guess is that the results would still come out the same way. Visually the word “kiki” is comprised of letters, “k” and “i”, both of which have sharp angles and are wholly devoid of any curvy features. Unlike, “bouba” which consists of all letters that are devoid of inflections or sharp angles. The associations then become straightforward, and visually so. Which, presumably, might negate this idea of an inherent “audio-visual” synesthesia.

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