About this Project

2017 – 2018

This project adopted a field linguistic approach to interrogate the subjectivity of human experience in the absence of a typical sensory palate. The research, drawing on insights from neurobiology and linguistics, centered on a remarkable individual, Kim, whose sensory world is radically different from that of the typical human. Kim relies on vision and hearing and lacks somatosensation (touch, pain, temperature, proprioception). Kim has minimal taste and smell perception. The project’s aim was to learn “the language of Kim.” This required the formalization of a new methodological approach to understand the interaction between linguistic encoding of sensory perception and actual perception. The new approach has broad applicability, as the method can be extended to understand those of different backgrounds, physical conditions, and even species.


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