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December 10, 2023
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Short Circuit
Produced by: Michele Ernsting
Literally synaesthesia means "a crossing of the senses." In practice synaesthetes may see colors when they hear music, or experience taste when they are touched. Letters and numbers have individual colors and words can appear as paintings. For a long time it was thought that synaesthetes were fabricating their experiences, but recent neurological studies show that they do in fact perceive things like music or words with several senses. In Short Circuit, people with synaesthesia talk about the difficulties of explaining what they see, hear and taste. We also hear from two artists, Carol Steen and Ans Salz, who use their work to translate the complex landscape of their minds. This program was produced by Michele Ernsting of Radio Netherlands as part of our international documentary exchange series, Crossing Boundaries.

Program Credits

Short Circuit was produced by Michele Ernsting of Radio Netherlands. This program airs as part of the international documentary exhange series, "Crossing Boundaries".


This site is a forum for people with synaesthesia. It offers a chat room and a bookstore of related texts exploring the workings of the mind.

The Synesthetic Experience
This site provides explanations of the condition, first hand audio accounts, and additional readings on the subject.

Stigma radio documentary series
In Stigma, a Radio Netherlands series of four programs, they look at four mental or neurological conditions which over the years have been stigmatized: manic depression, Tourette's syndrome, synaesthesia and schizophrenia.

Synaesthesia: The Strangest Thing
by: John E. Harrison
A tour of this mysterious condition, looking at historical incidences of synaesthesia, and unraveling the theories behind the condition.

States of Mind: New Discoveries about how Our Brains Make Us Who We Are
by: Roberta Conlan (Editor), Kay Redfield Jamison, Esther Sternberg
Are we born to be shy? Are creativity and depression somehow linked? Do our dreams really have deeper meanings? This book looks at how our health, behavior, feelings, and identities are influenced by what goes on inside our brains.

The Secret Life of the Brain
by: Richard M. Restak, David Grubin
Companion to the five-part PBS television series, The Secret Life of the Brain reveals the intricate magic of the human brain from infancy to old age.

Radio Online
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Programs by Michele Ernsting

Radio for between the ears
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