Thinking metaphorically is the key to creativity and creative problem solving.
Neuroscience shows us that thinking metaphorically is a normal, healthy mental process. And yet, some people, such as artists, possess a highly advanced capacity for metaphor.
A recent study sheds new light on this. The study observed arbitrary sensory experiences in infants that are unlike anything experienced by typical adults. This condition is known as synesthesia, in which two or more bodily senses are merged.
People with synesthesia "inhabit a strange no-man's-land between reality and fantasy. They taste colors, see sounds, hear shapes, or touch emotions in myriad combinations." It is not surprising then, that this condition is such an appealing one to artists who have sought to defamiliarize their perceptions of reality, or, to put it another way, to rediscover a primal, childlike perception of reality.