Four is Blue.

Monday is red.

“Fur Elise” is yellow and black.

 

At least…in my mind. 🙂

 

This neurological pattern is called Synesthesia.

 

What is Synesthesia?

synesthesia

noun

1. a sensation produced in one modality 
when a stimulus is applied to another 
modality, as when the hearing of a 
certain sound induces the visualization 
of a certain color.

Types of Synesthesia

According to Wikipedia, there are at least 80 different types of synesthesia.

colored pencils
Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash
words/letters/characters => color

music (notes, chords, certain pitches) => color

Spatial sequence synesthesia

Numerical sequences = points in space.

With spatial sequence synesthesia, the number 7 might be farther away and the number 8 might be closer. People with SSS may also see months or dates in the space around them.


Auditory-tactile synesthesia

Certain sounds => sensations in parts of the body.

Hearing a specific word may feel like touch in one specific part of the body.


Mirror-touch synesthesia

Individuals experience the same sensation that another person is feeling (such as touch).

In mirror-touch synesthesia, when a synesthete observes someone’s face being slapped, the synesthete involuntarily feels a slap on their own face as well.


Lexical-gustatory synesthesia

words => taste

For example, the word “abalone” might taste like bone broth. “Chill” might taste like cherries.


Spatio-temporal synesthesia

A mental mapping of days, weeks, or months of the year. An ability to “see the time”, possibly in the form of a circle or ribbon.

pretty red ribbon


 Other forms

Other synesthesia types include but are not limited to:

  • smell-color
  • flavor-color
  • month-flavor
  • sound-flavor
  • pain-color
  • personality-color (sometimes referred to as “auras”).
  • emotion-color

And so many more! 😀

In my experience, synesthesia is both a blessing and a curse. The strange neural connections have caused physical discomfort for me many times (there are some commonly used words that trigger odd physical sensations for me in internal organs), but then, I’ve also managed to soothe my stomach by listening to minty songs (this method was partially effective).

multicolored eye
Photo credit: parade.com

Why/How People Have Synesthesia

Synesthesia may be linked to neural cross-communication between normally separated brain regions.

It is speculated that stronger and/or more neural connections may play a role in the manifestation of synesthesia.

When we are young, we tend to have more brain connections than we do when we get older. Over time, neural connections are usually pruned away to a degree. It is thought that synesthesia may be connected with a “failure” (for lack of a better word) to pare down the neural pathways.

It appears that the neural pathways in synesthetes may be more myelinated.

Myelin is a fatty sheath surrounding neurons, which enables neural signals to travel more quickly.

 

My Experience with Synesthesia

fruit smoothie with mint leaves
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

 

The word “college” tastes like grilled cheese (specifically, grilled cheese from Sonic that I ate as a kid. The thought of eating that now is nauseating to me for several health reasons.😛)

The G-flat note and chord are green. A-flat is red, D is blue, B-flat is a purplish-brown (it changes color somewhat).

“Bright” by Echosmith sometimes tastes minty.

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel is blue (and also minty).

The number nineteen is yellow and white.

Body odor often smells orange.

Certain people are sometimes certain colors or blends of colors in my mind. (This is often – though not always – connected with the color(s) I associate with their names).

And that is only a taste of the crazy world that is my brain. 🙂

 

Are you a synesthete? Share your synesthetic experiences in the comments below!

 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

7 thoughts on “Four is Blue.

  1. Pingback: Empathy and Empaths – Reflection Cube

  2. A Chicken

    So what color is 17, if that’s okay to share? 😀

    I was watching a Survivor challenge that involved memorizing a sequence of colors. I automatically connected each color with a key on the keyboard, specifically with respect to a hand position. Middle C for red, D for blue, E for yellow, F for green, G for purple. Although in a different setting I’d probably pick different colors for all those notes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: What It’s Like Having a Migraine – Reflection Cube

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