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Author Topic: Synesthesia  (Read 1951 times)

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Offline Mouse

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« on: October 29, 2008, 12:47:26 PM »
I didn't even know this was something that existed until last night, but apparently I am a synesthete.

I was working on a project last night for a class where I'm making a sort of picture book thing as a creative project and I was looking other children's books for ideas and I made a comment to Matty about how much it bothers me when people use the wrong colors for letters. Apparently this is an unusual thing to think and we spoke for a little while and then told me to look up 'synesthesia'.

I'm absolutely flabbergasted. I don't know how else to describe it. I just always assumed that people knew that letters/numbers were associated with specific colors and that they can have personalities. Like I didn't even consider that might be unusual because it's no more unusual to me than any other thought. I'm so freaked out that I've gone 18 years without knowing something that's so normal it's just part of the background in my life does not apply to everybody.

Apparently it's not THAT uncommon. I was wondering if there is anyone else here that experiences this. I keep trying to describe it to people and I'm starting to feel like a nutter.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 12:54:23 PM by Mouse »

Offline Moffie65

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 03:51:17 PM »
Hmm Jaser,

What an incredible discovery....  I too am surprised first that Matty would know this, no I'm not really surprised, but also that it is something that has an actual description.  I always wondered about the nature of the color of numbers and letters, because they really do have color preference.  I wonder if that also goes for a body of text, depending on the nature of the content.

Anyway, I just wanted to comment to you that with this incredible, built-in talent you seem to have discovered; if maybe you should consider the world of print and information.  I think your gift might really accelerate you into this field with some speed if you find it actually helps you envision success in print and information technology.  Graphics fields.

As you well know, I was in printing from High School, and still today I love the challenge of presenting information in the most catchy and engrossing way possible. 

When you get a chance, give Matty my everlasting love. 

Thanks for this really interesting post and discovery.

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Offline Basquo

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 03:56:32 PM »
Can you give some specific examples? This has piqued my curiosity. Now I'm wondering if the plastic magnet letters on my fridge are all wrong.

Offline Mouse

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 04:55:31 PM »
It's sort of difficult for me to explain because it's something I've always sort of taken for granted, but I'll try.

Each letter of the alphabet, for me, has a really distinct color that I associate with that color and only that color. Apparently the actual colors are different for each synesthete, though, so I only speak for myself.

For me, A is a bright primary red. B is a sort of midnighty blue. C is yellow. D is a light, dusty brown. E is a slightly brownish grey, like old cement. F is a bright green. G is a dark forest green. H is a light purple - like the purple associated with Easter on candies and basket stuff. It makes me think of ducklings and baby rabbits because of that (H does). I is a cream color. J is a pale purpleish reddish pink that makes me think of ice cream .... etc.

I mean, I'm aware when I see black text that it's black text, but the letters still have a color that goes with them. Sometimes I think of the color more than others. If I try to think of them it comes to me immediately. Sometimes I think of them without really trying. You know how if you squeeze your eyes shut really hard for a long time and then open them again you see sort of blurry black shapes for a few seconds? Sometimes I see something sort of like that - except the color of the letter that I'm looking at. :|

And then sometimes words have distinct colors, but they're usually just the color of the most prominent color letter in the word. So like the word 'moon' for me is a light brown. Because o is an off-white. N is a dark brown for me and m is a light grey. So it kind of dilutes. I can't explain it.

Oh - and each letter and number has a personality for me, also. Like distinctly. It makes me like and dislike some letters/numbers. 14 is my favorite number because I like 1 and 4. 1 is just sort of dependable and 4 is kind of babyish and submissive/cute. :|

I feel so silly explaining this LOL. You're all going to think I'm insane! Yay!

Personally, I see a lot of neutral colors. I've seen examples of colors other people see online and I think a lot of other people see brighter colors. For some reason I get a lot of neutrals - LOTS of browns and greys. There are also a lot of purple/pink hues and blues. The two closest letters in color are A and K which are both a very bright red, although A is a little bit brighter.

... and I'm done. I know I'm babbling and you could all probably care less. I just feel kind of bad that other people don't get it. Like I told Matty, it's something I get a lot of pleasure out of usually.

Offline fearless

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 06:16:08 PM »
All I can say is WOW.
You learn something new everyday.
Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 07:13:23 PM »
Fascinating stuff, Jaser. I have to stop and think if I have any color associations like that with specific letters. Right now all I am seeing is this kinda dull font and b&w. And red can't possibly account for as many letters as come to my mind at this moment. Maybe a few blues. No mauves though.

Sounds like you're having a good time with your project. Good for you! Happy stuff to read.

Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2008, 09:46:47 PM »
That's pretty amazing, Jaser.

There's a Wikipedia article on this, with plenty of good links at the bottom.


I thought I didn't experience anything like this, until I read what this woman had to say about it - http://web.mit.edu/synesthesia/www/carol.html

I often see colours when I'm getting a massage, particularly when certain pressure points are being stimulated. Speaking of being stimulated, sometimes I see the loveliest shade of violet/purple when I have a particularly good orgasm. ::)  :)  I never really thought anything of it before, just took it for granted.

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Offline Longislander

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2008, 10:04:09 PM »
Very interesting Mouse.  As I was reading I was thinking that I don't see colors in letters like you describe, but I always thought of numbers as having very distinct personalities. Some submissive, some domineering, some adults, some adolescents and some infantile. Of course, they're all male or female to me as well.  I did try to mention it to a cousin of mine when we were much younger, but since she looked at me like I had 2 heads, I never thought more about discussing it with anyone! Thanks for the post.

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Offline penguin

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2008, 02:03:48 PM »

This is something which I very very rarely talk about to anyone, cos I was badly bullied n generally made to feel freakishly abnormal about as a younger person, by both adults and children. The only other person I know who experiences similar is my brother, who ďseesĒ many things in sound, like words and thoughts sound like certain notes or bits of music.

I donít see every letter as a colour - probably only about a third of the alphabet has distinct colours. A few more have a kind of swirly colour, like a shadow of a colour. But nearly every complete word has a colour, as do many numbers - and I also experience many words in sound and taste and smell too -  do you get that too jaser? Like the word mango for me, it is a deep orange yellow sunset, plus the taste of honey and the sound of children laughing. The word love is a purply red with a kind of twinkly firefly element, and the taste of hibiscus juice. names are teh same, like the name steve is navy blue and tastes like shepherds pie. and laura is bright purple and sounds like bracelets clinking together.
 I also experience emotions this way too -  if someone asks me how Iím feeling, the first thoughts are colours and then sound and smell. Which is one of main reasons why I think Iíve always had difficulty descrbing or expressing my most important feelings to people - most people donít understand what ripe tomatoes or car horns or lobster shells or the smell inside an airplane have to do with anything

I think I often feel quite overwhelmed by new experiences and places where thereís lots of things happening, or lots of people - because itís like sensory overload, if that makes sense -  like all these colours and sounds and tastes are hitting me at once, and itís too much to take in

Anyway, I think over the years Iíve sort of come to just accept it as a special and unique thing about me. I think it would be quite flat and empty to now experience things in the way everyone else says they do.


Offline sharkdiver

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 04:55:45 PM »
ok ok

I do NOT see individual letters in speciific colors but I do see WORDS in different colors and movement patterns/kinetic patterns.

Offline dgr20002

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Re: Synesthesia
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2008, 12:02:54 PM »
i went to a doctors home in washington dc that has writen books on this very subject. he said people told him in the early days he would ruin his career in this field but as you know he was correct. i dont recall his name but it is a fascinating subject.


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