Monday is red.
“Fur Elise” is yellow and black.
At least…in my mind. 🙂
This neurological pattern is called Synesthesia.
What is Synesthesia?
Types of Synesthesia
According to Wikipedia, there are at least 80 different types of synesthesia.
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.
Certain sounds => sensations in parts of the body.
Hearing a specific word may feel like touch in one specific part of the body.
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.
words => taste
For example, the word “abalone” might taste like bone broth. “Chill” might taste like cherries.
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.
Other synesthesia types include but are not limited to:
- personality-color (sometimes referred to as “auras”).
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).
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
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! 🙂