Synesthesia


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can you hear the colors.jpg

 

 

        Imagine sitting outside on a bench in a park and watching the traffic go by. You hear a car honk, birds chirp, and you see green leaves blowing in the wind. Suddenly you realize the car honking appears as the color red, the birds chirping gives off the color yellow, and the green leaves taste like lemons. This is called Synesthesia, which means "sense coming together." "Synesthesia means that when a certain sense or part of a sense is activated, another unrelated sense or part of a sense is activated concurrently. For example, when someone hears a sound, he or she immediately sees a color or shape in his or her "mind's eye." People that have synesthesia are called synesthetes". Now the question is how common is synesthesia? According to the article it can occur anywhere from 1 in every 5,000 people to 1 in every 100,000 people.

            There are different types of synesthesia, whether it deals with objects associating with taste, certain shapes may sound like music, or colors and numbers having a specific taste/sound. It is said that people who have synesthesia tend to be very creative. People may ask if having synesthesia apart of everyday life is frustrating? The common is answer is no! Most people like it and find it to be enjoyable. They like seeing the world from a different perspective than the norm. Most people have had it since they were very young. I actually have a mild form of it, without even knowing it. All my life I would associate certain sounds and numbers with either a color or taste. It wasn't until recently that I found out not everyone does this, I just assumed it was something normal. There are many ways synesthesia can be detected. Most of it is through "imaging and behavioral studies" that involve FMRI's and other color and sound detection equipment.

            My question is, that although this is more common in people when they are younger...do you think you can develop synesthesia on your own? If so in what ways would you be able to practice perceiving the world? Do you think it would really help you to be more creative? Do you feel people who have synesthesia are making it up? I personally believe in it, and I believe you can train your brain to think in such a way. Many people may call it a disease, but it actually is not, "they test negative on scales that check for schizophrenia, psychosis, delusions, and other disorders." Therefore it is not considered to be a disorder or a disease. The article said these people see the colors and tastes with their "mind's eye", do you guys consider this to be your third eye? Which is known to be developed in spiritual people...what are your thoughts?

 

http://www.bu.edu/synesthesia/faq/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/synesthesia.htm

 

 

5 Comments

I have heard of this before and had always wondered at how it worked. Logically, our body receives signals in a fundamentally similar way. It would makes sense that someone would be able to gain a mix.
I initially assumed that this was an experience that could not be taught. However, after I found this article, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19163-can-you-teach-yourself-synaesthesia.html#.Uju_0z-DnGo, my perceptions changed. The researches printed a book in which certain letters had a corresponding color. Those who read that book preformed better on a test of synesthesia. It is difficult to say if this is an accurate study, but it is at least compelling.

This post caught my eye right away because of the picture you posted. Hearing colors? That is something I have definitely never heard of before. I think being able to relate a color and a sound or a number and a taste together would be quite the talent that I wish I possessed. People may be born with it, but like you said, I don't see why someone wouldn't be able to train their brains to think this way. In the link that I posted below, it says that some researchers believe that everyone is born with their senses "cross wired" and only in the later stages of life do things get sorted out. You definitely have opened my eyes into something I have never heard of before that I'm very intrigued in. For you, or anyone else who is as interested as I am, read more about it by clicking on the link!

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html

I have never heard of hearing color before! Being able to relate to color and sound is something I wish I could do. It seems that this trait is usually something you are born with and makes you closer to the world around you. You hear everyday sounds and noises but to hear the color of the trees sounds like something only Pocahontas could do!
http://youtu.be/TkV-of_eN2w

I think that this ability is so cool! I just met someone this past summer who is able to do the same thing! I think that this trait is something that is present from early in life, I do not think that it can be harvested or developed on our own. Here's some more information on synthesis though! I think it provides proof to your hypothesis of whether or not its real.

http://www.livescience.com/169-rare-real-people-feel-taste-hear-color.html

I've actually read a fiction story that a girl wrote online about a character with this ability. It was really interesting and I was always curious about how it worked more in depth. In her story, whenever the character heard loud noises or whenever there was a lot of commotion she wouldn't be able to concentrate and she'd get headaches because there were too many colors in her brain. I wonder if this is something that actually happens to people with this ability or if it was just something the author made up to add dramatic effect. Either way, I'd say it would be worth it to be able to hear and taste colors.

I thought that this article was pretty interesting and it said that synesthesia does come with pain, headaches, and dizziness http://www.sewanee.edu/chem/Chem&Art/Detail_Pages/ColorProjects_2003/Pittenger/

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