Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Synesthetic Photisms and Hypnagogic Visions: a Comparison

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Multisensory Research
For more content, see Seeing and Perceiving and Spatial Vision.

I have been a synesthete all my life and thought I understood my synesthetic perceptions rather well when, suddenly, in 2013, I began to see a new kind of internal image: hypnagogic visions. These visions, a normal state of consciousness, are known to occur somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. They appeared to me as another source of photisms, in addition to my usual synesthetic experiences. But when I described these new visions to some researchers there was a wide range of reactions, from concern, to acknowledgement of similar experiences. While hypnagogic visions are different in some ways from my synesthesia, which I previously described in my paper, Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art (Steen, 2001, Leonardo 34, pp. 203–208), I find they share some commonalities. In this paper I will explore both the visual similarities and differences in my synesthetic photisms and hypnagogic visions, discuss when my hypnagogic images first appeared, and where I see them. I will compare the triggers or lack of them, range of colors, lines, shapes, geometric ornamentations, and movements I see, and mention seeing usually separate synesthetic photisms and hypnagogic visions occur in the same experience.

Affiliations: 1: Touro College and University System, 39 Bond Street, 2N, New York, New York 10012, USA


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Attar F. (1971). The Conference of the Birds. Shambhala, Berkeley.
2. Brook P., Estienne M. H. (2014). Mandalas: An Installation Inspired by the Valley of Astonishment, 360° Series, Theatre for a New Audience, Brooklyn, New York.
3. ffytche D. H., Howard R. J., Brammer M. J., David A., Woodruff P., Williams S. (1998). "The anatomy of conscious vision: an fMRI study of visual hallucinations", Nature Neuroscience Vol 1(8), 738742. [Crossref]
4. Horowitz M. J. (1975). "Hallucinations: an information processing approach", in: Hallucinations: Behaviour, Experience and Theory, Siegel R. K., West L. J. (Eds), pp.  163196. Wiley, New York.
5. Sacks O. (2012). Hallucinations. Vintage Books, New York, New York.
6. Steen C. (2001). "Visions shared: a firsthand look into synesthesia and art", Leonardo Vol 34, 203208. [Crossref]
7. Steen C. (2016). Spotlight on Science: Carol Steen. The MIT Press.
8. Steen C., Berman G. (2013). "Synesthesia and the artistic process", in: The Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia, Simner J., Hubbard E. M. (Eds), pp.  671691. Oxford University Press, UK.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Multisensory Research — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation