Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/841

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THE PROBLEM OF COLORED AUDITION.

and the attitudes of the participants recall to me what was said. Successive pictures present themselves before my eyes, and those pictures enable me to call back what I heard." That is a real visual type. In determining the type, it is necessary also to take account of the tastes of persons, their aptitudes, and their favorite occupations. Most of those whom I have seen, practice at painting or water colors, and some are painters by profession; others have been drawn by circumstances into different careers, but nearly all of them love color and Nature and have a passion for beautiful hues. Take notice also of their language. Whenever they describe their mental condition they have a marvelous abundance of picturesque expressions. Mr. Galton has justly remarked that few of those who have colored audition are satisfied with laconically naming the colors of the vowels; they must exactly define the shade, even if they are talking of white—a sensation so simple and apparently so easy to define without an epithet. They do not say, "O is white," but rather "O is a shade of white, the color of white plush, or of the under side of a fresh white mushroon." Another will say, "White mingled with milky and a little yellow"—or silver white, chalky white, etc. The use of these expressions informs, us concerning the chromatic sense of these persons. They are colorists without doubt. We who have dull imaginations have the same words at our disposal as they, but we are unable to draw the same effects out of them. Words are like the colors we use in painting. Give two identical palettes to two painters, one of whom is a colorist like Delacroix and the other a draughtsman like Ingres; with the same colors one will produce a brilliant and the other a subdued picture. What permits us to give color to the canvas, as well as in the expression of our ideas, is, above everything else, the power of mental vision.

Our hypothesis is confirmed by some facts that have been brought out in M. Claparède's investigation of "visual schemes" or such figures as Mr. Galton has found some persons associating with their groupings of numbers, and which M. Claparède has found may be associated with other abstract conceptions, like the months and the days of the week. The results of his inquiry showed a frequent coincidence of colored audition with the faculty of forming such visual schemes. Without employing visual schemes, many persons represent the figures mentally to themselves as if they were written out—a method of representation which is another good characteristic of their type of memory. I have made an experiment on this point, instructive to me, which repeated upon a number of persons has always given concordant results. I pronounce five numbers to a person and ask him to repeat them; then six, and then seven, till the