synesthesia

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Synesthesia is a neurological condition that results in involuntary associations between experiences or observations and sensory pathways.

I’ve experienced a little synesthesia myself, for example, I have to spell GREY with an E otherwise the word doesn’t look grey to me (if spelled with an A, the R is pink and the A is green while the G and the Y are grey).

Last year I discovered that a friend of mine (and her mother, there may be a genetic connection) was a synesthete to a much greater degree. I was totally fascinated to hear her describe not only the color, of the numbers 1 through 9, but also their somewhat complex relationships.

As an X-mas gift, I made her this painting portraying the relationship between 9 and 7 as described by her. Eventually, I’ll depict the rest of the numbers to make a short series.

There are over 60 reported types of synesthesia including auditory and spatial. Have you experienced synesthesia?

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4 Responses to “synesthesia”

  1. Kat Says:

    Hollerrrrrr!

  2. Bryan B Says:

    it is genetic, but none of our fam has it that i know of (i asked them all last 4th of July). i have some though. i had rousing discussion for a couple hours with a friend of mine last year discussing synesthesia and describing how both of our annual calendars “look”. my calendar floats in space with a black background. it is a perfect circle, though in my head it is an impossible shape: each month has the same arc length, but they don’t all line up across from each other as numbers on a clock face do. specifically, June does not align directly across from December. also, i “walk” around it counter clockwise and am always looking into its center. my friend’s calendar has a white background, he “walks” around his counter clockwise as well if i remember correctly but he looks along its path as opposed to toward its center. this particular occurrence is spatial synesthesia.

    i’m just happy i don’t taste words! seeing music might be sweet for a little while though. ;-)

    • cat baldwin Says:

      they might just be so used to it that they don’t think of it like that anymore.
      your spatial calendar sounds really complicated! does it help you remember what day it is better than the average human?

      i had another friend who tasted certain flavors when she saw them in abundance.

      • Bryan B Says:

        perhaps. when i tried to explain what it was to them, they all just gave me blank stares.

        it doesn’t help me remember certain days any better, but i can’t hear the name of a month or think of a time of year without also being on that particular spot on the circle.

        a lot of people also don’t realize that it’s a “thing.” my buddy said he lived his whole life thinking that everyone did that until he watched a documentary on it a few years ago. once he started asking his friends about it, he realized how uncommon it was. i actually thought it was regular too until he brought the topic up with me. he laughed saying he knew i wasn’t bullshitting him when he asked if i knew what he was talking about and i said, “yeah, when you’re walking around the year in your head as time goes by.”

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