Friday, August 29, 2008

Synesthesia - Overlapping of Senses

Last night, the girls and I watched a documentary about Synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the senses get sort of mixed up. There is an overlapping of the senses. For example, some people taste names, words, letters, or colors and other people hear lights. For some people, the color blue might mean the letter 'M.'

As people in the program related their synesthetic experiences, of course I couldn't relate for the most part. However, when one lady listened to some jazz music, she described it as "That's deep purple velvet, it couldn't be anything else." To my surprise, I nodded in agreement, that yes, that was a lovely deep purple velvet! It made me realize that I do feel/"see"colors when I listen to music. If you asked me to listen to a song and paint it, that would be a very easy assignment for me. I thought that everyone could do that. Perhaps not.

This morning, I realized that I probably had a synesthetic experience when I was a teenager. It has stuck with me, because it was weird. My mom was watching TV in the living room, and I was in the kitchen. I could not see the TV. I heard a woman's voice on TV that immediately struck me as the color red. I rationalized that maybe it was some sort of psychic thing, and maybe the lady had red hair. I was driven to look at the woman and see what color hair she had. But I found that she didn't have red hair. Her hair was blond. I told my mom about the experience, and I think she thought I was joking. I still didn't understand that weird feeling that the woman on TV had red hair. I thought, "If I'm psychic, I'm a lousy psychic!"

If these are truly real experiences of Synesthesia, then it would mean that I find colors in sounds and words.

I don't think a few isolated experiences make me a Synesthete, but it is interesting. I created a Squidoo page about Synesthesia that you should check out if you are interested in it. There's a great video on the page by a photographer and musician who explains how he realized he had Synesthesia and how it helps him with his art and music.

2 comments:

Liu said...

I'm glad I read that. I have cross-references between colours, sound and taste all the time.like when I'm listening to music usually I feel what colours I'm going to use. I thought everyone can do that. thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

Synesthesia is a fascinating thing. I was thrilled when I realized it had a name because I have always stored information in circles, like a counter clockwise clock. Christmas songs, dates, whatever, I can point to them with my eyes closed and they are always in the same place. I also have a mild color, number letter association (I don't see the color over the letter or number when it is in print but the letter or number is ALWAYS a certain color when I see it in my head and certain numbers and letters trigger an emotional response and are connected with each other--I HATE 7 and 11 and four and f are always getting mixed up because they are completely interchangeable. There are others but those are the most obvious. It is such a strange thing but not surprising when you realize all the neurological things hat scientists don't understand, and that a lot of Synesthetes, like me, struggle with learning disabilities and other neurological conditions.

 

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