Re: Paintings really can be heard, scientist says (Sept. 7): Jamie Ward’s studies of the “music” in Kandinsky’s art may be new, and his approach of getting synesthetes to describe the sounds the art evokes and finding that “normals” appreciate these descriptions more than others, is also novel and interesting. But his conclusion is hardly new at all—check out Lawrence E. Marks’ book “The Unity of the Senses: Interrelations among the modalities” (1978 Academic Press) for many studies showing the same kind of thing: there are natural connections between sounds, lights, etc. that we all can access—especially using cross-modality matching, a psychophysical scaling technique. He even discusses synesthetic metaphors in poetry.
Lawrence M. Ward, Ph.D., Professor
Dept of Psychology and The Brain Research Centre
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Down Syndrome Research Foundation
Burnaby, B.C., Canada