Synesthesia: Do you have it?

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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Giant Speck » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:25 pm UTC

This thread reminds me of this week's episode of Heroes.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Vieto » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

Giant Speck wrote:This thread reminds me of this week's episode of Heroes.


I actually read this topic first.

It seems that not only does Randal read the minds of the xkcd viewers, but the xkcd-collective as a whole can predict the future.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby sir2you » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:24 am UTC

When I feel strong emotions I have different tastes, but I wouldn't call it synesthesia. The tastes are subtly different metallic flavors, but very distinct.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:42 am UTC

No, what I describe is not at all Exploding Head Syndrome. Just when I've been lying with my eyes closed for a while, in total darkness and near silence, when my eyes have adjusted to it, any sudden noise can cause a visual hallucination lasting about half a second. It looks perhaps as though there were a small explosion in front of your face.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby electronic mily » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:21 am UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:No, what I describe is not at all Exploding Head Syndrome. Just when I've been lying with my eyes closed for a while, in total darkness and near silence, when my eyes have adjusted to it, any sudden noise can cause a visual hallucination lasting about half a second. It looks perhaps as though there were a small explosion in front of your face.


Yes, exactly! I don't know that I have to have my eyes closed as long as it's dark enough that the light would show up - I'm thinking no, but I can't remember well enough to say one way or the other - but this seems like what I was thinking. Interestingly, I had one odd instance when the sound was so significant (caused by me running my face into a lamp in the dark), that there was a split second when I could actually see fairly well. I could never figure out if it was just one of these flashes scaled way up (which would reclassify it from hallucination to something actually going on with my eyes) or if I had somehow miraculously turned the lamp on for a moment by headbanging it. Neither option seemed very plausible.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby frogman » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:50 am UTC

I don't have it, but I think that it sounds extremely cool and I want to have it.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby the_bandersnatch » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:55 am UTC

Samuel L Jackason wrote:Synaesthesia, motherfucker. Do you have it?
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby animeHrmIne » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:43 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
animeHrmIne wrote:ETA: I've always thought synaesthesia was interesting, but I don't have it at all, except for movement and sound, which dosen't really count. You're supposed to feel the music moving in different directions, it's part of how it's made.
Er... what? Like, stereo or...am I missing something again?

I always heard music described as movement -- it ebbs and flows, it rises and falls, it bounces, pounds, shivers. When people write about music, they write it as either colors, or movement. When I think music, I think movement, which I had assumed was pretty common.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Earlz » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:41 am UTC

I've recently discovered that pain to me has sound qualities..

a small scratch by a thorn is quiet but high pitched
a back ache(which is annoying but doesn't ruin your day) is a medium amount of sound, but very low pitched.
a big rough scratch that covers a wider area(like when you fall on concrete) is a mainly high pitched but about medium sound which as it gets better over the course of minutes gets quieter..
popping a zit is extremely high pitched and though it isn't very loud, makes it "travel" and be noticable
most headaches are low pitched of about medium sound..
when my knee was dislocated it was extremely extremely loud, and of slightly low pitch..

idk.. I'm sure this doesn't count.. but still...

I think I've had some kinda connection between math/coding and some sense before though I can't remember it, so if there is a connection it's extremely weak.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby a Person » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:33 pm UTC

Not really all that much, but when I'm listening to music with my eyes closed, I do see different colours depending on what kind of instruments are playing.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby AngrySquirrel » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:19 pm UTC

I probably have something synthesia-like at least. Haven't really had it checked anywhere but it seems to fall within the category.

I read everything in colours. Individual letters have colours, and when put together the words will have their own colours. Sometimes letter will change colours when put together in words and sometimes they won't. Sometimes whole sentences will have their colour changed by the words used. I get 99% of all my grammar and word choices from looking at the colours that the different words, sentences and letters create. Some words will look exactly the same even though they sound very different because they have the same colours, and some words that are very similar will look wildly different because of the colours. I find particularly th-words very difficult to spell because they all tend to look exactly the same colour-wise.

Then there are sounds. Sounds taste different and some have their own colours. For example, car sounds tend to taste lemony or lime-like depending a bit on what kind of car. Certain noises tastes very bad and will make me very angry if I can't escape them. Pictures will also taste things. Combining pictures and sounds makes the tastes more intense, which is why I will dislike certain movies for no other reason than that they taste bad (dramas especially tend to taste like fish so I avoid them as much as I can).

Sounds mostly get colours when they are very clear. Car-noises, people talking and general noise will not get their own colours, they just blend together is a massive wall of colour-splashes. Clear notes and some kinds of music (classical stuff mostly) will get their own clear colours and not the general mishmash.

I tend to find it very annoying. Certain words are very hard to spell since they look very wrong when spelled correctly. I also get irrationally angry at certain noises, movies or music because they taste bad or have colours I find very unpleasing. Trying to explain to people that "No, I don't want to watch that movie because it tastes like raw eggs." is also something that tends to earn a few weird looks.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby fyrenwater » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:10 am UTC

Okay, so some rock music is more like burnt toaster-waffles, with a hint of coffee. Breakfast-gone-wrong, basically. I'm thinking it's wailing electric guitars alongside rhythmic bass that does it.
...It made more sense in my head.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:51 pm UTC

No, but I can forge sensory input. Most people can visualize things if they close their eyes and are in the right mindset. It's sort of similar to that, but with other senses, in my case, sense of touch and mental model of body orientation.

It doesn't take relaxation or being sleepy or anything like that either.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby guenther » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:37 pm UTC

1 in 23 people have some form of synesthesia. I learned this in an interview with Richard Cytowic, author of Wednesday is Indigo Blue.

He has a neat theory for it's physiological cause, as well as a possible evolutionary origin. For a long time researches thought of the brain as having separate modules that do specific jobs (i.e. sight, speech, reason, etc.), and there's little connection between them. So synesthesia is where the wires get crossed and the modules intermingle.

However, new research suggests that this module paradigm is wrong and that these modules have very gray boundaries and actually intermingle all the time. We actually have very strong links between the senses, like when we watch a move and see someone's lips move and hear sound from the speaker, our brain links the sounds and the image. At a subconscious level, the sense are always intermingled, but the brain filters this out and presents the world in a more organized manner to our conscious brain. Therefore, synesthesia is actually a "failure" in this filtering process where this intermingling leaks into our awareness.

I put "failure" in quotes because Dr. Cytowic thinks that this phenomenon must have some purpose if so many people have it. His theory is that it increases one's ability to make metaphors, thus increasing creativity.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby modularblues » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:36 am UTC

These associations are not that strong but they have lurked around ever since I could remember.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

I associate all the major and minor keys with colors as well.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Earlz » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

AngrySquirrel wrote:Sounds mostly get colours when they are very clear. Car-noises, people talking and general noise will not get their own colours, they just blend together is a massive wall of colour-splashes. Clear notes and some kinds of music (classical stuff mostly) will get their own clear colours and not the general mishmash.


This reminded me of one of my vocal judges a long time back. He was saying we sounded like crap and was trying to give us tips. He said "You need to sing as if it was purple" and kept saying how we need to sound purple.. I'm pretty sure he had Synesthesia and was an idiot
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby CombustibleLemons » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:52 pm UTC

I can see music in my head and amounts of times are different colored bars like 30 minutes is brown-red.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby seveneightn9ne » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:10 pm UTC

I have it. Here's my alphabet:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
e varies drastically; it can be from dark blue to white. Also i can be from white to orange to pink.

And my numbers:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 is always black when it's next to 0, but in other cases it can be white, orange, or pink (like i).

Also, I see sounds in colors and shapes, but mostly music. High notes are usually thin and light colored, while low notes are thick and dark. Also voices and acoustic guitars are almost always shades of yellow, orange, and brown.
I see the days of the week and the months of the year in a circle shape; I've heard this is linked to synesthesia as well. (the colors of them are just the main colors of the letters in it)
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Carnildo » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:34 am UTC

A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby KallistiEngel » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:03 am UTC

I think everyone has it to some small degree or another. I associate certain numbers with colors, but only because said colors evoke said number. like for some reason my mind associated red with the number 9, green with 7, and blue with 3. I only know this because sometimes I'll look up at a traffic signal and my mind will say "nine" rather than "red" (and no, not the german word "nein" meaning "no"), same with green lights and seven. Blue, I discovered randomly and I kinda forget how exactly.

Those are the only examples in my life that I can think of.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

KallistiEngel wrote:I think everyone has it to some small degree or another.
Not everyone. The notion that numbers, letters or sounds could be associated with colors did not occur to me until I got linked to something talking about Synesthesia a short while ago.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby rrwoods » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

That's actually really uncomfortable for me to read. Which is interesting, because in PSYC 100 they did that thing where you read the colors of words that are written in a different color from what they say and I had no problems with that, but for some reason those three "yellows" really bother me.

I have mild synesthesia, though I don't know that it's really synesthesia since it's "induced". When I was a small child, I had these toy letters and numbers and they cycled through red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple. A few of the colors stick out in my mind. F's are purple, M's are red, N's are orange, O's are yellow, R's are purple, T's are orange, Z's are orange, 1's are yellow, and 4's are purple.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby icanus » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:15 pm UTC

Just came across this rather interesting lecture about the neural basis of synesthesia.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Shpow » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

It's quite weak, almost suppressed. I give people colours. I give smells textures, sounds... depends. Music is colours mainly, but sounds not really, unless I'm sleepy.

Iunno, I don't think I have it though.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby seveneightn9ne » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:46 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

For me, I usually see the color the word represents, so "yellow" is yellow; although because "y" is gray, the beginning of the word has a gray tint (usually the 1st letter is most significant in the word color anyway).
KallistiEngel wrote:I think everyone has it to some small degree or another. I associate certain numbers with colors, but only because said colors evoke said number. like for some reason my mind associated red with the number 9, green with 7, and blue with 3. I only know this because sometimes I'll look up at a traffic signal and my mind will say "nine" rather than "red" (and no, not the german word "nein" meaning "no"), same with green lights and seven. Blue, I discovered randomly and I kinda forget how exactly.

That's interesting, those are the same colors I see for those numbers.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Carnildo » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:24 am UTC

seveneightn9ne wrote:
Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

For me, I usually see the color the word represents, so "yellow" is yellow; although because "y" is gray, the beginning of the word has a gray tint (usually the 1st letter is most significant in the word color anyway).

So you don't see any black in the first "yellow", or any green in the third? All three are indisputably grey-yellow?
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:49 am UTC

You know, this thread feels like a practical joke everyone is in on besides me. I'm thinking you're like the freemasons or some other secret society of people in the know that has secretly agreed to "see stuff in color' in public, so to confuse and mock everyone else.

It also fuels my inner solipsist. Because if everyone but me was a NPC, this is exactly the sort of thing that would happen.
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I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Outchanter » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:43 am UTC

animeHrmIne wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:
animeHrmIne wrote:ETA: I've always thought synaesthesia was interesting, but I don't have it at all, except for movement and sound, which dosen't really count. You're supposed to feel the music moving in different directions, it's part of how it's made.
Er... what? Like, stereo or...am I missing something again?

I always heard music described as movement -- it ebbs and flows, it rises and falls, it bounces, pounds, shivers. When people write about music, they write it as either colors, or movement. When I think music, I think movement, which I had assumed was pretty common.

I imagine that's why people dance. Rhythm is something you feel, not just something you hear. I'm sure there are other sensory associations that are pretty much ubiquitous. Like smell and taste - have you ever tried drinking water from a restroom faucet?

But I think those associations are different to the 'crossed wires' of synthesthesia.

You, sir, name? wrote:You know, this thread feels like a practical joke everyone is in on besides me. I'm thinking you're like the freemasons or some other secret society of people in the know that has secretly agreed to "see stuff in color' in public, so to confuse and mock everyone else.

It also fuels my inner solipsist. Because if everyone but me was a NPC, this is exactly the sort of thing that would happen.

Selection bias. I'm pretty sure most forumites don't have synesthesia, like myself, but the ones who do are more likely to post in this thread.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby KallistiEngel » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:22 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:You know, this thread feels like a practical joke everyone is in on besides me. I'm thinking you're like the freemasons or some other secret society of people in the know that has secretly agreed to "see stuff in color' in public, so to confuse and mock everyone else.

It also fuels my inner solipsist. Because if everyone but me was a NPC, this is exactly the sort of thing that would happen.

What makes you so sure we're not NPCs?

The first time I heard of synesthesia was when I was looking up info about LSD. And the info I found used the extreme of being able to taste colors as an example for it. Yeah, it sounds crazy. I've never had anything that extreme, but the number/color associations are something I've experiences and only learned more recently that that can be a minor form of synesthesia.

Outchanter wrote:Like smell and taste - have you ever tried drinking water from a restroom faucet?

But I think those associations are different to the 'crossed wires' of synthesthesia.

Yes, I've done that. But only in my own home where I know it's clean.

Also, the smell/taste example isn't exactly an association thing. Your sense of taste is directly connected to your sense of smell. Ever hold your nose when drinking something you're expecting to taste nasty? It doesn't taste so bad if you do.

Unless you mean the water tasting like poo. Or the assumption that it will. That would be an association thing. Sorry, I'm tired.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby seveneightn9ne » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:42 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:
seveneightn9ne wrote:
Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

For me, I usually see the color the word represents, so "yellow" is yellow; although because "y" is gray, the beginning of the word has a gray tint (usually the 1st letter is most significant in the word color anyway).

So you don't see any black in the first "yellow", or any green in the third? All three are indisputably grey-yellow?

Well it's hard to explain; I physically see the words as they are, but in my head it's apparent that the word is gray/yellow. When a block of text is a solid color I mentally block out the color and replace it with my own, but when the color keeps switching like in "Yellow Yellow Yellow", it makes it harder and slower to read because the color association is a big part of reading and how it looks is obviously wrong to me. Does that make sense?
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Carnildo » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:33 am UTC

seveneightn9ne wrote:
Carnildo wrote:
seveneightn9ne wrote:
Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

For me, I usually see the color the word represents, so "yellow" is yellow; although because "y" is gray, the beginning of the word has a gray tint (usually the 1st letter is most significant in the word color anyway).

So you don't see any black in the first "yellow", or any green in the third? All three are indisputably grey-yellow?

Well it's hard to explain; I physically see the words as they are, but in my head it's apparent that the word is gray/yellow. When a block of text is a solid color I mentally block out the color and replace it with my own, but when the color keeps switching like in "Yellow Yellow Yellow", it makes it harder and slower to read because the color association is a big part of reading and how it looks is obviously wrong to me. Does that make sense?

Perfect sense. Thanks.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Senefen » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:44 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:A question for those of you who see colored words: how does the physical color of the text interact with the synesthesia color? For example, what do you see when you look at the following: Yellow Yellow Yellow?

It's annoying to look at :P.
Yellow is Yellow. Y is yellow. This happens a lot, for example G is green.
Words normally follow the colour of their first letter.
There are some exceptions R is orange, but the word Red is red.
The words Australia and America are different colours, despite starting with the same letter.
Some letters have quite a strong association too, so they multicolour words, for example the surname Stephenson is Stephenson
Though those colours are a little bit out >_> it bothers me.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby sillybear25 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:32 am UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:No, what I describe is not at all Exploding Head Syndrome. Just when I've been lying with my eyes closed for a while, in total darkness and near silence, when my eyes have adjusted to it, any sudden noise can cause a visual hallucination lasting about half a second. It looks perhaps as though there were a small explosion in front of your face.


I most definitely get this. Based on (my perception of) the frequency of this phenomenon, it's either separate from "normal" synaesthesia or synaesthesia is even more common than people may think. On a related note, I get tactile sensations from music sometimes, though I'm not sure if it's true synaesthesia or just a mental association I make when I'm getting really "into" the music.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby boring bore » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:16 pm UTC

seveneightn9ne wrote:Also, I see sounds in colors and shapes, but mostly music. High notes are usually thin and light colored, while low notes are thick and dark.


I'm not really sure how unique that is. Of course, your other links between senses may be interesting, but this part in particular is pretty normal, I should think.

I remember reading in the introduction/foreword of We that Yevgeny Zamyatin had synesthesia...I definitely don't, but I've associated music notes with colors:
A is a whitish yellowish
B is black with a tinge of purple
C is whitish brown
D is blue
E is green
F is yellow
G is red

It's not an automatic reaction, they just make sense to me (though some of them may be iffy).
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Pryomancer » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

I'm interested, could anyone who has word-color/taste synesthesia tell me what they get when they read these words?

Matt
Matthew
Southampton
Photoshop
England

I'd be really interested to know, and if any of you have different ideas of what they are, too.

Thanks. :D

I'm pretty sure I don't have synesthesia, although it would be cool to.
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby seveneightn9ne » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

Pryomancer wrote:Matt
Matthew
Southampton
Photoshop
England

Matt -> Purple because of the "M"
Matthew -> Purple with a bit of yellow from the "a"
Southampton -> Red from the "S" with some purple from the "th"
Photoshop -> Green from the "p"s with whitish from the "o" and blue from the "t"
England -> Grey and dark blue from the "E", "n", "g", and "nd"
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Pryomancer » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:51 pm UTC

seveneightn9ne wrote:
Pryomancer wrote:Matt
Matthew
Southampton
Photoshop
England

Matt -> Purple because of the "M"
Matthew -> Purple with a bit of yellow from the "a"
Southampton -> Red from the "S" with some purple from the "th"
Photoshop -> Green from the "p"s with whitish from the "o" and blue from the "t"
England -> Grey and dark blue from the "E", "n", "g", and "nd"


Awesome, thanks for that. It's very interesting. :)
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby electronic mily » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:19 pm UTC

Pryomancer wrote:I'm interested, could anyone who has word-color/taste synesthesia tell me what they get when they read these words?

Matt
Matthew
Southampton
Photoshop
England


Oh, I want to try! I'll do it with font colors, but there doesn't seem to be a variety of grays so I'll just do vowels.

Matt (Overall, this is a red name, which I have mentioned before is the kind you give to your protagonist 8) )
Matthew (same as above, but with a little light spot at the end)
Southampton (O is unreliable, sometimes blue and sometimes yellow depending on what's going on around it. Here it's yellow. This one starts bright and goes dimmer near the end.)
Photoshop (yellow O again)
England (Starts out a nice subdued green and fades to darker red at the end.)
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Brunch » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:21 am UTC

Roughly:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Any other way of coloring those words bothers me. I suspect it's almost completely learned because that's the way they're usually colored on preschool and elementary-school calendars. I don't experience any other obvious synthesic (is that a word?) effects, but I do have a way of thinking of shapes.

Can any of you think of a shape without visualizing anything? It's almost like "shape" has its own sense category in my brain. I don't think it's too uncommon...
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Re: Synesthesia: Do you have it?

Postby Senefen » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:40 am UTC

Pryomancer wrote:Matt, though it could be blue.
Matthew
Southampton
Photoshop
England, could also be a brownish colour


On shapes
Squares are red or orange, circles are blue, triangles are yellow
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