Saturday, July 01, 2006

Synesthesia Support Group

I have spent many years asking my friends strange questions such as, "what color is your number 4?" only to receive either polite non-responses or a round of "WTFs?!" Does anyone else have this? Where every number and letter of the alphabet has a color? So when you look at a bunch of numbers on a page you can see them in their color? 1 is white, two is black, three is lime green, four is red, five is orange... Where some foods taste like the smell of something else? You know--you will be eating peas but thinking that they taste like the smell of tomatoes? They don't taste like tomatoes; they taste like the SMELL of tomatoes. See what I'm saying?

I have been trying to figure out what is up for a good long time, and just for kicks I typed "numbers have colors" into google, and voila: I got my answer: I'm normal! Praise be! The word for what I am (in addition, I can hear you saying, to "eccentric," "insane" and "not my cup of tea"), is called a synesthete. A person who has two or more senses coupled.

The following article geared to kids has a little bit on it, along with a couple of questions to see if you also have synesthesia. I'd be lying if I didn't say that this is a bit of a relief, because the only other person I knew whose numbers had colors and whose sounds had shapes was my Dad, and he was an endearingly loony--although lovable--man. Upon learning that he too saw colors, tasted smells, and heard shapes, I feared that I would live out my golden years wearing tartan hats, eating pop (spelled "green-black-green") tarts (orange-red-blue-orange-pink), and haranguing my neighbors to keep their loud, pointy, swirly music down.

Of course, I may still end up like that, but at least I'll know why...

Neuroscience for Kids

2 comments:

Albert Ellenich said...

Hi there. I don't see another way to contact you, so I'm hoping you get this. The post is from 2006 so I'm taking a chance. I recently learned a coworker of mine is a synesthete. I'm a photographer, so this was very fascinating to learn. I'm working on a photo project about synesthesia and looking for others who see numbers in colors. If you'd like to learn more and participate, please contact me. My website is: http://photos.ellenich.com

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