June 18, 2009

Aural Synesthesia?

I was recently in DC for conference of special librarians and I was lucky enough to have a tour of the NPR building. My guide, library director Laura Soto-Barra, asked about my favorite shows on NPR.

News junkie that I am, I said that the top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts are tops on my list of NPR shows. Laura thoughtfully took me over to the area where the newscasters work and I was thrilled to meet Ann Taylor and Jack Speer, who speak just the way they sound on the air. I also met the other folks who make the newscast happen, producer Rob Schaefer; editor Jeanine Herbst; and associate producer Whitney Jones. I admit to gawking like a kid. (I was also excited to meet The Two-Way blogger Frank James, who sits in their corner).

The tour continued, and as we walked around the building, I heard the reporters' voices in my head as I saw name plates on cubicles and doors. Claudio Sanchez, Bob Boilen, Felix Contreras, Michel Martin. I didn't meet any of them, mind you, just saw them or even their name plates -- and yet I imagined their voices so clearly it was as if I were actually hearing them. Is this aural synesthesia? Or does everyone hear voices in their heads when they see names?

Regardless, I appreciated the tour and meeting some of the newscasters.

For more about the NPR library, check out the NPR librarians' blog As a Matter of Fact and read their response to Frequently Asked Questions about the library

1 comment:

maura said...

Hi Stephanie,
Just reading this post, I was thinking about Terry Gross or the crew on Wait Wait, and I could hear their voices in my head.

I had a similar experience at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC last weekend. Before you enter the hall, you are in a small landing room with name plates of those who have been inducted into the Hall. The folks at the hall of fame did a cool thing where the names would light up and a song would play! It was a very cool experience. But, walking through the Hall, seeing pictures or reading names without sound, I would hear the music.