Are You Synesthesic?

I am not sure whether I am. Would love to find out.

If you sense numbers as colors, or see images when hearing a tone, you might be a poet and don’t know it.

Atypical and subjective responses to colors, sounds, numbers and the like are caused by a neurological condition called synesthesia, a mutation in an area of the brain that can result in a cross-wiring of hearing, vision and touch senses. According to neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran, synesthesia is eight times more common among creative people such as artists, musicians, writers and poets. (It affects a small portion of the population.)

“What’s really going on (is that) concepts in different parts of the brain are cross-wired in some people, resulting in a greater sense of metaphorical thinking.”

Link: This is your Brain

Update: 12th Dec 2007

I was listening to a TED Talk  by Vilayanur Ramachandran: A Journey to the center of your mind today.  He illuminates the subject of Synesthesia and gives one possible explanation of why artists may be more synesthetic than others. The topic of synesthesia occurs towards the last 30%  of his presentation. He even shows how we are all synethetic with a simple experiment.

5 thoughts on “Are You Synesthesic?

  1. I am. The condition is easy to live with and even enjoyable if one’s got the right environment such as being surrounded by similar/understanding people. However, it could be very distructing especially when physical strength is low due to illness for example. Colours, textures and meanings of words/sounds start to bear similar degree of intensity in the head. This, together with the lowered boundary wall of the two languages I use (I am bilingual) due to supposedly weakened control of the brain (because of the physical state), it feels like I am going mad or …retarded. In such a time, I need reasurance that I’m not alone in this and hence googling for consolation which have led me to your article. Thanks for the link to Ramachandran’s talk. I really enjoyed it and it is always nice to know that everyone has got synesthesia to a certain degree 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing this with us. While this post keeps getting an occasional view, hearing from you on your own experience is very valuable. There is so much we don’t know about how the brain works.

  2. When I read something, I tend to first place the subject into a 4 or 5D arena, for example: the place 2Ds, the time +1D, the person speaking +1D and the subject + 1D.

    So, it’s as if I had this one big arena within my head, and there is a need to place them inside it in a so to speak geographical place, which is 4 to 5D.

    Once I have it located, it starts to show colors as it works.

    That is even stronger with math, physics or computer programming. Whenever I come to a subject or whenever I am working at a software development project, every process, calculus and simple math emit colors; but also within that 4 to 5D environment.

    I have no idea if that is synesthesia or some damage with my brain, but that helps me a loooot to memorize things.

    Regards from Brazil

    1. Thanks for sharing that. It may or may not be synesthesia. But your technique seems to be an organizing principle. A little too complex for my simple brain though 🙂

      1. Thanks Dorai for your insights. I also feel that it’s not synesthesia, but rather some type of mania I acquired throughout the years.


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