Can letters have colours? Can you see pain? Do you have synaesthesia?

It is not only educational learning English, but also very interesting. Today one of our lessons at NELS was about synaesthesia (spelt with no ‘a’ in American English).

‘Synaesthesia is when the brain automatically associates some sensation (such as colour) with something that is traditionally not associated with that sensation.’ (bohahohu’ answers.yahoo.com)

This person has the most common form of synaesthesia which is associating letters and numbers with colours. He says ‘this does not mean I literally see the colors, but I simply get the sensation of them when I see letters and numbers. For example, when I see a stop sign, I can clearly see that the letters are white on a red background, but my brain conjours the sensation of a green s, brown t, black o, and a purple p.’

Another synesthete (someone who has synaesthesia) says, ‘I see 3 as the black font it is typed in, but in my mind I also see it as completely yellow. S is green in my mind, while O is white.
One time I had a sharp pain that ran from my knee to my ankle that looked like a bright yellow bolt of lightning.’

It sounds bizarre, right? And difficult for non-synesthetes to comprehend. This site (http://web.mit.edu/synesthesia/www/) attempts to give us the experience of what it would be like to have the condition. Try it.

Some famous artists and singers have been known to have this neurological condition including Marilyn Monroe, Billy Joel, Mary J. Blige and Stevie Wonder.

A good short video to watch on this can be found here.

What do you think? Do you know any synesthetes?

 

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Can letters have colours? Can you see pain? Do you have synaesthesia?」への6件のフィードバック

  1. Yes, my friend has it and she found out when she was 23! She is musician and every note has a colour to her. For her German classic songs are dark blue, French songs are rather purple… Amazing, isn’t it?!

  2. Hi! I knew “synaesthesia” for the first time. It’s so interesting. I’ve never experienced such a sensation. Ordinary people see that black font is black, but synthetes can see many colours on it such as yellow, red or green….etc. It’s amazing! I guess that it’s wonderful to be able to see many different colours. I want to experience that. They could notice alien,fairy and something which you can’t see. I didn’t know Marilyn had a special condition. I love Marilyn. I looked the video of synethete on your blog. He looked so happy and lively. He’s really nice. He would live his life so happily by seeing the different world. I would have some some special sense. I want to see the different world. If I had such a sensation, I would see that snow is Diana blue. ( I like blue colour, especially royal blue and sapphire blue.) I want to do so once.

    • You LEARNT about synaesthesia for the first time. Yes, it’s so interesting, isn’t it? I’m glad you WATCHED the video. (Use ‘watch’ as the image was moving, and it was for a longer period of time).
      It is interesting that you would see know as blue. I love the pure white of snow but I also love the sky blue of the sky, so I think it would be a nice mix.

  3. Hi! Thanks for teaching my mistakes of ” learned” and ” looked”. And I also made a mistake. In my comment, I wrote that ” I would see that snow is Diana blue” , It was my mistake, I wanted to write that ” I should be able to see that snow is Diana blue”. I love the contrast of white snow and blue sky, so I think it would be so beautiful to be able to see blue, or something like a blue shadow in snow. Actually, I’ve never seen something blue in snow. But I want to experience it.

    • I agree with you completely about the contrast of blue sky and white snow – it’s a perfect combination.
      We’ve certainly had plenty of snow today, haven’t we?! Maybe we can get some blue sky tomorrow.

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