Wednesday, March 29, 2017


As we learned in class and from the book (the first source I listed below), synesthesia is the stimulation of one sense by another. I remember stumbling upon a House episode about synesthesia a long time ago. The episode was about an Air Force pilot that was “hearing with her eyes,” and it fascinated me. Now, I actually know two synesthetes (people who have synesthesia). While attending community college, I found out that one of my favorite professors actually has synesthesia. He described how when he ate different foods, he heard different sounds, depending on what he was eating. So, when he ate and tasted food, this stimulated his hearing of different noises. And just as we prefer some foods to others because of the way they taste to us, he preferred some foods to others because of the way they sounded to him. I believe that he had other senses linked too, but I can’t recall his examples. I have another friend who I met recently, who also has synesthesia. She describes different letters as having an inherent evenness or oddness, as well as having different colors attached to them. The latter is what is known as color-graphemic synesthesia and is the most common form of synesthesia. According to “Synesthesia Statistics” (the second source I listed below), the majority of the synesthete population in the world are women and are left-handed. One of the synesthetes I know is male, and the other is female, but both of them are left-handed. The female-to-male ratio is 3:1 and synesthesia itself only occurs 1 in every 2,000 people, making it pretty rare. I find synesthesia interesting to learn about because I can’t experience what it’s like to be a synesthete. I can only learn about it through others by using my own senses as a comparison.

Salzmann, Z., Stanlaw, J., & Adachi, N. (2015). Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology (6th ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.


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  2. I’ve always found synesthesia a very interesting topic. It interests me how many variations of it there are. I hadn’t heard of the one you described where your professor linked eating/taste to hearing. The one I have heard of most often is where certain letters or numbers appear as specific colors. This one intrigues me because for me, there are certain numbers that I will always associate as one color, but not nearly to the degree that synesthetes do. Mine is more of a color association, but, for example, the number seven has always seemed like a very green number to me. I also read a little on the topic (I thought of doing synesthesia for my blog post as well) and read that some synesthetes show some similarities in their associations. The example I saw was that the letter A is often linked to the color red. I was thinking how some of these associations and links may form in very early years because of children learning basic colors and numbers very early. Children usually learn the colors red, yellow, and blue, the letters A, B, and C, and the numbers 1, 2, and 3. I recall always seeing these three letters and three numbers in the color order of red, yellow, and blue, whether it was in the classroom, on a toy, or on a television show like Sesame Street.

  3. This is also something I have always found very interesting! Specifically last semester I did a study on a artist named Melissa McCracken. She said that since she was 15 year old, she thought everyone constantly saw colors. Colors in books, colors in math formulas, colors at concerts. Until she had a argument with her brother about what color the letter "C" was she realized that her my mind wasn’t quite as normal as I had thought. Basically, her brain is cross-wired. She experiences the “wrong” sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around her body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful “brain malfunction” of all is how she can see the music that she hears. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song. Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. She explains that it adds a unique vibrance to the world she experiences.