Synesthesia?

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Synesthesia?

Postby lukkucairi » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:37 pm UTC

According to the infallible and godlike reference source that is Wikipedia, as many as 1 in 23 people may have synesthesia:

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more bodily senses are coupled. In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a three-dimensional view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

So I was wondering...is anyone here able to, f'r instance, tell what middle C tastes like? or what color the number 5 is? What do you think of synesthesia anyway - is it useless crossed wires, or what?

I don't know if this counts as a class of synesthesia, but the days of the week are different shapes for me. Thursday's a truncated pyramid. Tuesday looks very much like Cori Celesti of Discworld.

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Postby Belial » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:40 pm UTC

They're either using a very, *very* loose definition of synesthesia, or every psych study I've read on the phenomenon *really* lowballed the number....

Or wiki's just wrong.
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Postby mindless_drivel » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Or wiki's just wrong.


*gasp* You mean wikipedia has errors in it!? I think you just shattered my worldview.
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:42 pm UTC

I see music, both in terms of colors as well as shapes, and sometimes if I won't recognize the sound of a particular instrument (like, a specific person's guitar), I'll recognize the shape of the tone. Much of the background music for Eminem's music is pink and orange, typically curved at the lower swell, and pointed and recurved at the top, whereas Dimebag Darryl's guitar is blue tinged with clear, smooth on one side and jagged on the other, and bound together like threads in yarn.

If only I had a modicum of talent, I could totally be famous.

It is estimated that synesthesia may be as prevalent as 1 in 23 persons across its range of variants (Simner et al. 2006). Synesthesia runs strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained.
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Postby lukkucairi » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:42 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Or wiki's just wrong.


oh horrors, no :wink:

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:I see music, both in terms of colors as well as shapes, and sometimes if I won't recognize the sound of a particular instrument (like, a specific person's guitar), I'll recognize the shape of the tone.

If only I had a modicum of talent, I could totally be famous.


have you ever had anyone test you, and written out your shape-by-note map?

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Postby Awezing » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:47 pm UTC

I associate months with colours, as well as position in 2D space relative to each other, but i think thats from having little card poster/sign things up on the wall in school when i was a little kid.

november is light blue-gray, and is in the lower left hand corner (everything sorta makes a long rectangle, with winter being on the bottom, and summer being up top.

december is a light green, january is dark blue, etc.

dunno if that counts though.

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:51 pm UTC

lukkucairi wrote:have you ever had anyone test you, and written out your shape-by-note map?

Nope. It's never been a problem, so I've never had a reason to.

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Postby Phenriz » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:53 pm UTC

i think everyone experiences varying degrees of synethesia.

those of whom it's the worst are usually involved in studies we hear about.

as far as i go, mine is related to numbers and colors.

2=red
3=green
5=blue
6=orange
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Postby Thunderbird4! » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:55 pm UTC

I associate (unwillingly mind you) sounds with colors (I just get blotches of color in my peripheral vision when someone is talking). The shapes and colors differ with my mood, their tone, their pitch, their accent, what it is they're talking about and any outside noises.
Quite useful sometimes, only way I have to tell apart a couple identical twins, john is usually gray and blobby whereas jason is forest green and sharper. The girl I desire to ask out shows up as a light red (not quite pink) every time but the shape differs slightly, usually stays kinda flowerish.
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Postby crazyjimbo » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:59 pm UTC

I wouldn't go as far as to say I have synesthesia, but things certainly have tones and flavours in my mind. Days of the week, months, numbers, etc all have a shade, not something that I could really describe, as it isn't as clear cut as blue or red, but they are all different. I would describe it more as things have a 'personality' rather than a colour, but it's really hard to describe either way.

When I do calculations in my head, and visualise things, it's more like a combination of their personalities than an actual calculation. As I said, hard to describe.

I have no idea if this is a common/normal thing, and it's only in conversations like this that it comes up, but I'd be interested to hear if others have this 'pretend synesthesia'.

I have a friend who has strong synesthesia (properly diagnosed), and some of the association she describes are really weird, and very strong to her. It's a proper sensation of taste smell and colour for most things.

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Postby EradicateIV » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

Thunderbird4! wrote:I associate (unwillingly mind you) sounds with colors (I just get blotches of color in my peripheral vision when someone is talking). The shapes and colors differ with my mood, their tone, their pitch, their accent, what it is they're talking about and any outside noises.
Quite useful sometimes, only way I have to tell apart a couple identical twins, john is usually gray and blobby whereas jason is forest green and sharper. The girl I desire to ask out shows up as a light red (not quite pink) every time but the shape differs slightly, usually stays kinda flowerish.


This is just awesome!

I wish numbers could bring upon tastes.
Primes would be the yummiest.
Perfect numbers would be hot pockets, obviously.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:01 pm UTC

So far, everyone is just reporting color associations. I'm not sure that's synesthesia so much as it is just associating a color with a concept or memory. Synesthesia is the cross-interpretation of stimuli by more than one part of the brain, not just "January is green".

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Postby mrguy753 » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:03 pm UTC

I kind of wish I had this condition. It seems really kind of cool to me.

There was some show about a savant one time, and he associated shapes and colors with numbers. Apparently pi is very pretty, and that's why he could remember it to like a bajillion places.
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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:19 pm UTC

I do not have this condition!
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Postby bbctol » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:23 am UTC

I'm pretty sure someone posted in the Introduction thread who said they had synesthesia. Hm...

I don't, by the way. Methinks Wikipedia is using too abstract definitions, although it is, naturally, still a godlike, infallible source of information.

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Postby 4=5 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:44 am UTC

I have good aditory memory, so I store sequences as a sound file, and when I hear things I get little line doing acrobatics aproximateing the sound in my head

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Postby davef » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:57 am UTC

I'd love to experience this!

As a musician, I find the whole concept of synesthesia fascinating. It's one way of identifying how certain people hear/see/feel music. My father is tone deaf, yet he loves listening to music, so I'm really curious to find out how he actually perceives the music he listens to. Same with synesidontknowhowtospellit. I'd love to experience that somehow, so as to compare it to how I perceive and respond to music.
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Postby The LuigiManiac » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:26 am UTC

I find negative numbers depressing, does that count?

(no, I don't have trouble with them, I just find them literally depressing)
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Postby Kithplana » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:34 am UTC

So, um... what sound does yellow make, anyway?

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Postby Darth Eru » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:35 am UTC

I assign colours to colours. Seriously, doesn't blue ever seem pink to you guys?
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Postby kcr » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:38 am UTC

bbctol wrote:I'm pretty sure someone posted in the Introduction thread who said they had synesthesia. Hm...

I did!

letters --> colors
numbers --> personalities
sounds --> tactile senses (only a few things cause this), colors
some smells --> colors
also, the way I picture the concept of time is apparently synesthetic. go figure.

So far, everyone is just reporting color associations. I'm not sure that's synesthesia so much as it is just associating a color with a concept or memory.

I'm not a synesthesia expert by any means, but this is definitely considered synesthesia, and it's the most common form. If there's no logical reason for someone to connect a color to a letter (for example), then it's syn.

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Postby lukkucairi » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:25 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:So far, everyone is just reporting color associations. I'm not sure that's synesthesia so much as it is just associating a color with a concept or memory. Synesthesia is the cross-interpretation of stimuli by more than one part of the brain, not just "January is green".


I'm not a synesthetic by strict definition - but i do have shapes for days of the week.

Monday - varying types of roundness
Tuesday - a single huge spike
Wednesday - upside down bowl
Thursday - truncated pyramid
Friday - brick (stood on its end)

Saturday - ribbon
Sunday - frisbee

nothing else has this kind of association as far as I can tell. Tuesday/Thursday are the strongest days. no idea why.

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Postby lukkucairi » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:30 am UTC

Kithplana wrote:So, um... what sound does yellow make, anyway?


it sounds like a Zildjian 14" K custom dark crash of course :wink:

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Postby The LuigiManiac » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:39 am UTC

lukkucairi wrote:
Kithplana wrote:So, um... what sound does yellow make, anyway?


it sounds like a Zildjian 14" K custom dark crash of course :wink:


The sound of a million stars being extinguished.

-or-

The sound of one hand clapping.

Your choice.
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Postby Darth Eru » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:42 am UTC

Or the sound of a billion people crying out in anguish and terror before being suddenly silenced...

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Postby Vandole » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:45 am UTC

My friend claims she senses a person's aura, depending on their mood. It can be colours, shapes, smells, emotions and objects. Apparently I'm usually grey-blue.
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Postby kcr » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:50 am UTC

The aura thing is kind of interesting. Like, seriously, their aura? Because my friend who has syn has it where people who she knows well have colors, but it's not an "aura" it's just from their personality or something.

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Postby lukkucairi » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:54 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
lukkucairi wrote:have you ever had anyone test you, and written out your shape-by-note map?

Nope. It's never been a problem, so I've never had a reason to.


just wondered if there might be some overall pattern to it - that would be interesting to find out :)

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Postby Solt » Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:08 am UTC

Thunderbird4! wrote:I associate (unwillingly mind you) sounds with colors (I just get blotches of color in my peripheral vision when someone is talking). The shapes and colors differ with my mood, their tone, their pitch, their accent, what it is they're talking about and any outside noises.
Quite useful sometimes, only way I have to tell apart a couple identical twins, john is usually gray and blobby whereas jason is forest green and sharper. The girl I desire to ask out shows up as a light red (not quite pink) every time but the shape differs slightly, usually stays kinda flowerish.


Wow. It's like you have a secondary processor, and an extra input channel. Can you get colors without actually listening to what they are saying? Like, the color will help you decide whether what someone is saying sounds interesting enough to pay attention? That's just... impressive, and interesting.

Not necessarily related, but has anyone heard of a female genetic trait where the eyes have 4 types of cones (color detectors) instead of 3? Apparently they can see extra depth in colors that we 3 coned people could never imagine.
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Postby Gelsamel » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:21 am UTC

Well I find that colors sometimes, and smells have a taste. Maybe it's just because I associate that color/smell with a certain taste so my mind synthesizes the taste when I see/smell those things.
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Postby shadebug » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:46 am UTC

Solt wrote:
Thunderbird4! wrote:I associate (unwillingly mind you) sounds with colors (I just get blotches of color in my peripheral vision when someone is talking). The shapes and colors differ with my mood, their tone, their pitch, their accent, what it is they're talking about and any outside noises.
Quite useful sometimes, only way I have to tell apart a couple identical twins, john is usually gray and blobby whereas jason is forest green and sharper. The girl I desire to ask out shows up as a light red (not quite pink) every time but the shape differs slightly, usually stays kinda flowerish.


Wow. It's like you have a secondary processor, and an extra input channel. Can you get colors without actually listening to what they are saying? Like, the color will help you decide whether what someone is saying sounds interesting enough to pay attention? That's just... impressive, and interesting.

Not necessarily related, but has anyone heard of a female genetic trait where the eyes have 4 types of cones (color detectors) instead of 3? Apparently they can see extra depth in colors that we 3 coned people could never imagine.


Yes, women have an extra cone and can see deeper colours, hence them telling you that the colour on the wall is nothing like what they picked out when it clearly is. I think they tested it on brainiac by throwing tennis balls at people from a tennis ball coloured wall, I forget what the results were though.

Back to synaesthesia though. What the hell is all this about loose definitions of synaesthesia? It's very simple, if two senses are combined, you're synaesthetic (syn = together aisthesis = sense/perception), so if you see colours and/or shapes when you hear sounds your hearing and vision are combining, if you see cauliflour and taste shit you can either already smell it or your vision, taste and/or smell are combining.

Either way, I am not, that I know of, synaesthetic (though I once had a friend who would assure people that you know what something tastes like by looking at it and I've since gotten to wondering if he was) but I would say that if you see shapes and colours with sounds, it makes sense to chart them out, being that you might train yourself to become pitch perfect which means that you'll be able to piss off all your friends that are talented musicians (But this score says B#, why are you playing a C?)
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Postby Aoeniac » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:58 am UTC

I heard one in a thousand from my psychology professor, whom I trust more than Wikipedia at the moment.


As far as I understand it, synesthesia is not simply an automatic or involuntary association. Just because you think of purple every time you hear a middle C, or you think of chocolate every time you see a 3, or think of an explosion every time you smell garlic doesn't mean you have mild synesthesia or something. Even if it really is rather automatic or involuntary and it happens every time.

Rather, somebody with synesthesia literally receives sense perceptions from senses not associated with whatever stimulus they are exposed to, and it is consistent as well as projected rather than imagined. You literally would see a flash of purple every time you heard a middle C. You would have the inescapable taste of chocolate in your mouth every time you looked at anything in the shape of a 3, and you would hear a loud crashing noise every time you smelled garlic, etc.

I mean, I definitely can't help but think that 12 is a rather soft shade of purple, but that doesn't make me synesthesic. It's just because I associate 12 with purple in the semantic network of my thoughts. If I had synesthesia, I would look at the number 12 here written in black and see it written in purple instead, or maybe even have a flash of purple obscure my vision every time I looked at it. I do in fact recall the taste of cranberries when I hear a piano, but it is merely a recollection and not an actual sense perception. I don't have synesthesia, I just associate classical piano with cranberry juice. Completely involuntarily and consistently.
And just because I start thinking that the shape of a television goes perfectly with a low pitched screeching sound doesn't mean I have synesthesia, I'm just weird like that.

(If you must know, 12 and purple are connected in my mind because they both belong in the favorite things folder on the hard drive of my brain. And likewise, I used to sit a glass of diluted cranberry juice on the piano when I practiced as a child, as the piano was near the door to the side yard which was almost always open, and you can get thirsty while practicing during summer wearther. And that is why I have such involuntary associations. As for hearing a low pitched wine every time I look at a television, I have no idea but it's certainly not synesthesia because I'm not actually experiencing the sensation of hearing, just imagining it.)
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Postby Gilly » Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:54 pm UTC

lukkucairi wrote:
Kithplana wrote:So, um... what sound does yellow make, anyway?


it sounds like a Zildjian 14" K custom dark crash of course :wink:


Mmmm, that's a nice cymbal.

Hang on, did everything just taste purple for a second?

I think the reason that smells and tastes are often related is because they are just very related senses anyway. Pinch your nose next time you eat, you'd be surprised at how different it tastes.
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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:57 pm UTC

I can taste with my skin.
I think that might be texture-->taste (?)
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Postby shadebug » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:00 pm UTC

actually, your sweat glands were wired up wrong, they're all capillaries leading to your nose, we weren't gonna tell you until you got a car and would want to know why the steering wheel smells so bad
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Postby Toeofdoom » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

shadebug wrote:Yes, women have an extra cone and can see deeper colours, hence them telling you that the colour on the wall is nothing like what they picked out when it clearly is. I think they tested it on brainiac by throwing tennis balls at people from a tennis ball coloured wall, I forget what the results were though.


Honestly I'd be less inclined to believe something once its been shown on braniac. And I thought the idea was only that some, not all women have that? Otherwise why would we have ever been taught about 3 being the norm?
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Postby Peshmerga » Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:05 pm UTC

I've already told everyone this, but I usually relate numbers with personalities. If anything, it's an extremely mild case.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:23 pm UTC

lukkucairi wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
lukkucairi wrote:have you ever had anyone test you, and written out your shape-by-note map?

Nope. It's never been a problem, so I've never had a reason to.


just wondered if there might be some overall pattern to it - that would be interesting to find out :)

Well, like everything else in my brain, it might be related to the epilepsy, which is already affecting the language center of my brain (my grammar and spelling mistakes can be EXCEPTIONALLY dramatic sometimes, transposing words at opposite ends of a sentence, etc). Is that anywhere near colors or auditory parts of the brain?
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Postby Solt » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:23 pm UTC

Toeofdoom wrote:
shadebug wrote:Yes, women have an extra cone and can see deeper colours, hence them telling you that the colour on the wall is nothing like what they picked out when it clearly is. I think they tested it on brainiac by throwing tennis balls at people from a tennis ball coloured wall, I forget what the results were though.


Honestly I'd be less inclined to believe something once its been shown on braniac. And I thought the idea was only that some, not all women have that? Otherwise why would we have ever been taught about 3 being the norm?



Yea I think it was very few that carried the genetic mutation, and even in that group it's only effective if the fourth cone is pretty far away from all the other ones, wavelength-wise. Like, a woman could have a green cone and a blue-green cone and it wouldn't really make a difference. But if she had red blue green and orange or something, she would literally see millions of more colors than us.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:25 pm UTC

Solt wrote:Yea I think it was very few that carried the genetic mutation, and even in that group it's only effective if the fourth cone is pretty far away from all the other ones, wavelength-wise. Like, a woman could have a green cone and a blue-green cone and it wouldn't really make a difference. But if she had red blue green and orange or something, she would literally see millions of more colors than us.

4% of women are polychromats, and most go through their lives without ever knowing. The extra cone is actually usually orange, between the yellow and red cones, but still adds a multiple of 100 shade nuances to each interpreted color.


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