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Old 12-03-2002, 10:49 AM
Morgainelf is offline
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Do you have Synesthesia??


I was prompted by Zoe's post in this thread to look up synesthesia. I'd never heard of the condition before, but I definitely have it.

According to this website I have both facetographemia (assigning personalities to phenomes) and sexographemia (assigning sex/gender to phenomes.)

I've always experienced letters and numbers this way, and assumed that others did as well. I remember explaining it to my husband a year or so ago and having him look at me funny. I'd never mentioned it before, because it just seemed to be normal.

(4 and R are the same for me, 5 and F are the same, 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 are boys, 2, 6, 8, 9 are girls, 0 is neuter, and each has a specific personality for me. I won't go into letters!)

There seems to be quite a bit of information on the web about color associative synesthesia, but I haven't found much regarding personality/gender associations.

So, who else?
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Old 12-03-2002, 10:59 AM
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Yup, I do. I assign gender to numbers and letters as well. I also carry a mental image of the timeline of history as a sequence of connected line segments, with right-angle turns (in differing directions) at significant dates:

Birth of Christ
1000
1900
1970 (I was born in 1967, so this is the first decade I remember)
1980 (The angles for 1980 and 1990 are obtuse rather than right)
1990
2000

I also have a semiphotographic memory, and so I visualize calendar dates the same as they appear on a monthly calendar page.
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:03 AM
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I haven't followed your link yet, but I do know that the first time I saw the Grateful Dead in concert also happened to be the first time I took LSD: I saw black sheets of lightning bolts pouring from Jerry Garcia's guitar. Lots of other stuff since.

My mom always said that she would hear a person's name and always have a color or pattern associated with that name.
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:13 AM
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1 - male; regal, yet aloof

2 - herm; sassy

3 - male; gregarious, earthy, hedonistic

4 - male; timid, skittish, prone to hysterics, generally unreliable

5 - male; friendly, yet sly; a slightly more sophisticated 3

6 - female; gentle, matronly, somewhat insecure

7 - male; cynical, stoic

8 - male; practical, guarded; at times moody, yet generally magnanimous

9 - female; genuine, outgoing, sexy;

0 - male; wonkish, tenacious
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:16 AM
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Oddly enough, the production manager here at work told me this morning she thinks of vowels as female and consonants as male.
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:16 AM
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That's the craziest thing I've ever smelled.
  #7  
Old 12-03-2002, 11:21 AM
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If I indeed have synesthesia, it's not identified on Morgainelf's list. I perceive shape/texture/area from smells. For example, I have one perfume that I associate with a flat board with a ball on top, another that smells like horizontal wavy lines, and another that's like a small pyramid with one of the edges facing toward me.


You know, from this and what I posted in the "Why do we talk to ourselves?" GQ question, I feel like I'm outing myself as a crazy person.


On preview: cuauhtemoc, that reminds me of a short story by W.S. Merwin, in which he devotes a paragraph to each of the first 10 numbers and their personalities. 2 is a little girl in a yellow dress, IIRC.
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:23 AM
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Oh, I have the letters all figured out too. All of the genders and some of the personality traits are so obvious to me that I just take them for granted. My sister and I disagree on some of them, and we've had heated arguments about it. Apparently, 'C' is a boy in her twisted world, as is '9'. Insanity.

And they were all firmly established by the time I learned to read. I expect it goes back even further than that. You know what probably encourages this trend? Shows like Sesame Street, where they anthropomorphize letters and numbers all the time. Maybe it makes them easier for kids to relate to?
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:32 AM
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I like reading things about synesthesia, but it all seems very vague to me, as if it means so many things, it doesn't really mean anything.

I've yet to come across a decription of my own personal synesthesia thing, which is that certain multiplication problems have tastes. I loved math class when we were learning the times tables, it was like dessert. 8 x 6, for example, is lemon, like a lemon creme filling. It doesn't work if it's 6 x 8 though. And the number 48 doesn't have a taste, it has to be expressed as 8 x 6.

These are the ones that are the strongest:

8 x 6 = lemon
4 x 3 = chocolate
7 x 6 = vanilla
3 x 9 = mint

I still get really happy if I have to buy 7 of something, and then discover in the store that they cost 6 dollars each. Ooooh, vanilla!
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:42 AM
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The closest I come to any of this is that I maintain that some movies are left-handed and some are right-handed and if you sit on the wrong side of the theater, you risk having the film (literally) strike you the wrong way.



What?
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Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
  #11  
Old 12-03-2002, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scarlett67
Yup, I do. I assign gender to numbers and letters as well. I also carry a mental image of the timeline of history as a sequence of connected line segments, with right-angle turns (in differing directions) at significant dates:


WOW!!! I thought it was just me!
  #12  
Old 12-03-2002, 12:29 PM
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I do, but only mildly. I see certain sounds; I actually found out this is the case by asking about this in this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...ighlight=white
  #13  
Old 12-03-2002, 12:34 PM
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I thought synesthesia had to be a crossing of two senses?
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:37 PM
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I have mental colours for numbers and days of the week. They're not fixed in stone, and they seem to have worn off as I got older. I also once saw some music when under the influence of psyloscibin (AC/DC, and it was a big purple worm-like thing).
  #15  
Old 12-03-2002, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cuauhtemoc


3 - male; gregarious, earthy, hedonistic

I know that you were probably in a hurry and made a typo but "3" is obviously female and not "male". I am sure that we all knew what you meant but I thought that you would get a big chuckle out of your mistake if I pointed it out.
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Old 12-03-2002, 01:35 PM
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I have always encoded sounds visually. For me, high-frequency sounds are usually bright colors, and low-frequency sounds are usually darker colors. I also create specific mental images for particular sounds.

According to my parents, as a young child, I identified "white noise" as sounding very white before I even knew what it was called. I thought it should be obvious to anyone that the sound was white.

I don't think in sounds. I don't hear a voice in my head. Instead, I see words as I think them. I see whole sentences at a time -- punctuation and all. When I'm communicating verbally with another person, I also visualize -- automatically -- every word that is said and pay little attention to the person's voice. For this reason, I've always been a superior speller, but pronunciation doesn't come so naturally to me. I can read very quickly because, instead of "sounding out" every word, I process the meaning of whole groups of words at a time.

Often, my dreams lack much sound as well. Usually, the people in my dreams have "thought bubbles" -- exactly what you'd see in comic strips -- and so I read what they're saying rather than hear it. Bizarre?

Why do I invariably convert auditory stimuli to visual stimuli? I don't have impaired hearing. Rather, it seems that my sense of hearing is unbearably acute -- sensitive to an extent that sounds really bother me. The sound of a vacuum cleaner, for instance, is just about as painful to me as a broken toe. Fire alarms are like death. I suppose I just try to block out these painful auditory stimuli whenever possible by creating corresponding images instead.

Any wonder that I am a visual philosopher?
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Old 12-03-2002, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shagnasty
I know that you were probably in a hurry and made a typo but "3" is obviously female and not "male". I am sure that we all knew what you meant but I thought that you would get a big chuckle out of your mistake if I pointed it out.
And I know you're just having a laugh on me, for I know that you would never deign to propagate this vile heresy. It's okay, I can take a joke. LOL Good one, Shagnasty!









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Old 12-03-2002, 01:48 PM
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Uh, that would be visionary philosopher. Ah well.
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Old 12-03-2002, 01:54 PM
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i don't know if this is related, but i have such a strongly visual memory that i often cannot remember if i have seen a film or read a book.

that is, i'll tell everybody about a wonderful film/tv show and go into the plot specifics...and everyone goes "uh, that a book"

i have a fairly photographic memory and can remember illustrations and diagrams perfectly, which is very useful for exam revision!
  #20  
Old 12-03-2002, 02:47 PM
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I love reading threads about these things, because its just so weird!! I can't imagine seeing numbers or letters as colours, or as tastes,. etc. I think the world must be a very stimulating place for you guys....kind of makes me feel like I'm living in black & white while you've all moved on to Technicolor!
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jjimm
I have mental colours for numbers and days of the week. They're not fixed in stone, and they seem to have worn off as I got older.
Me too! For those things and exactly those things! And it has also seem to have worn away as I aged. For this reason I suspect I don't really have synesthesia, but days of the week still seem quite colorful to me. Monday is red. Other days change their colors sometimes, but Monday is always red. Right now, Tuesday is yellow, and Wednesday is blue.
  #22  
Old 12-03-2002, 03:13 PM
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I never thought there was anything strange about assigning genders to numbers and letters--I think I just had another aha! moment (similar to the one I had a few years ago when I realized that *everybody* didn't see specific colors associated with letters and numbers.)

I also see words when they are spoken, particularly unusual words or names. Once I learn how to spell somebody's name, I never forget because it's a visual thing. When I listen to an audiobook and can't figure out how a particular odd name is spelled, I have to go look at a printed copy to find out, because it upsets my sense of the world not to be able to picture it as I hear it.

For me, the numbers and letters are:

Female - a, b, d, e, g, m, o, p, q, u, even numbers
Male - c, f, h, i, j, k, l, n, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z, odd numbers

Strangely, I think the color associations help--the female letters
are generally brighter colors leaning toward yellows, oranges,
pinks, and reds, while the male letters are darker colors like
blues, blacks, dark purples, etc.

My number colors (which never change) are:
1 - white
2 - green
3 - yellow
4 - purple/magenta/black
5 - blue
6 - tan
7 - purple
8 - magenta
9 - black
0 - white/no color

I won't go into my letter colors, but they never change either
(except that the letters around them can affect the intensity of
the color and sometimes change some of the weaker colors temporarily).

My spousal unit sees sounds, which makes it very interesting for him
to listen to songs. I told him if he could paint the visions he
gets while listening to particular songs he could probably make a
lot of money.

I love synesthesia threads. (It's cool to see that there are so
many of us out there!)
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:14 PM
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It's odd that you start this thread today because I'd never heard of this until it was mentioned in a movie, The Lonely Hearts Club, that I watched last night.
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:30 PM
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Hmm, Fridays are definately red. [color=light blue]Sunday's[/color] are light blue. Wendesday'sare orange. ETC.

I don't have perfect pitch but on the rare occassion that I absolutely know the note or the key of a piece by the music I have a color associated to it. D major is a goldeny brown color. C major is red though A minor is Blue. F major is orange and D minor is yellowish/orange.

Certain smells have strongly associated colors with them as well. But I think that is because of the food association mostly. For example citrus things are either yellow or orange. Sweet syrupy things with hint of a tang (like a grape) are purple. Gentle sweet things are red (like strawberries). ETC

My sister sees numbers as colors. Zero through nine are all the bright primary crayola types of colors.
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:43 PM
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Oh and deeper notes are darker colors of the main note whereas higher notes are brighter.

Also, specific musical instruments produce extra colors not associated with the notes that they produce. In other words the tone of the instrument changes the color. A flute is very clear and glassy when making music even though it can also have color within the key or given notes it is playing. Other woodwind instruments (minus the flute) are green.

A guitar is very golden brown (just like the key of D) as is the harp and other plucked strings. However, the harp is more gold in sound, the guitar is more brown, the mandolin is almost yellow, the bass guitar is almost all brown with little shocks of yellow.

Bowed strings are purple and can migrate from a reddish purple to a bluish purple depending on how low or high they are playing.

Drums typically are black if they are unpitched or red if they are pitched but that changes a lot since percussion is so diverse.

The piano is blue. The harpsichord is red. The clavichord is violet. The hurdy gurdy is purplish red.

Brass instruments are yellow/orange.
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Old 12-03-2002, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by agroof
I don't have impaired hearing. Rather, it seems that my sense of hearing is unbearably acute -- sensitive to an extent that sounds really bother me. The sound of a vacuum cleaner, for instance, is just about as painful to me as a broken toe. Fire alarms are like death.
I'm like this to an extent, too, though it's faded as I've gotten older. When I was very young, fire trucks were intolerably painful. I still hate fireworks because all of my memories of them from childhood are of hiding from the sounds and sobbing in the back of the car while my parents couldn't figure out why I didn't enjoy them like the other children.

I also have synaesthesia. Words and phrases have.... shapes. Shapes isn't exactly the word I want. It's more like form/shape/texture/flow/image. Some are specific, some are sound based, some don't have anything. "sons & daughters" is a wave/pullback/clear ribbon, but "daughters & sons" is flat. Plain sounds without words have texture and/or concrete images assosciated with them. My voice when I sing is a glass of water with bubbles in it.

Tastes just have texture. I like my cheese very pointy/bumpy. Like a crumpled plastic shopping bag.

I read a Washington Post article about an area convention on synaesthesia about a year and a half ago. In the article, a quick test for synaesthesia was mentioned: What shape is a year? If you can answer the question immediately, you probably have synaesthesia. This was a revelation for me. I already knew I had it. I could conceive of other people having different shapes for a year. But I thought everyone's year was a shape. Mine has always been a square. I still don't understand how "normal" people think about time. How do you think about a year if you can't see it?

And mnemosyne, it's not all it's cracked up to be. During migraines, I can sometimes feel sounds all over my head. It's incredibly painful.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:05 PM
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I have it too. Numbers, colors, letters all have gender for me.

There was a thread several months ago on this very subject but, I'll be darned if I can find it.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:11 PM
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My experience is much like dorkusmalorkusmafia's, in that I associate various notes and instruments with colors. I must take issue with some of his associations, however, as the key of A minor is clearly a deep red :P

This seeing of colors does occasionally limit my listening to music that I would otherwise enjoy. The best example of this I can think of is when a guitar is combined with bagpipes. The guitar (which is always some shade of blue) with the bagpipes (which are always orange; yellow-orange for uillean and deep red-orange for Highland) just produces a hideous combination.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:17 PM
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You must be listening to only the low notes on the guitar then. Those have a muddyish blue to them. It is still definately brown. Interesting that you have orange for the bagpipes. I always see them as green. I am sure Scottish people would hate me for it since supposedly Scottish people don't like the Irish green (this taken from a Scottish/American boyfriend).

C major which has the same lack of accidentals as A minor is bright red. A minor is a very icy/dark blue. All the key stuff fluctuates a bit with the feel of the music though.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:22 PM
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It's interesting that several of you have mentioned perfect pitch. I wonder if that's a related phenomena. I don't have perfect pitch, but I have relative pitch.

Homebrew, isn't that the way the Dope always works? Freaky yet predictable.

When I was very young I used to get the whole textural thing - I'm not sure what the trigger was, but I'd get certain textural feelings - bumpy, crunchy, soft, tin-foilish, etc.

I'm so glad to see that so many of you have experienced this. I can't believe I've managed to make it through 34 years without ever hearing about it before. Wow.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:29 PM
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dorkusmalorkusmafia, even though C major has no accidentals, I see it (as well as the note C itself) as having no color. I don't mean that I don't associate a color with it, I just see it as *having no color*, in the sense of being clear like a glass of water or a diamond.

And guitars are quite definitely blue, as are all plucked string instruments. The specific instrument, and the amount of signal processing on it can alter the shade, of course, but it's always blue. A clean Strat sound, for example, is a translucent ice blue, while a bass guitar is indigo and a harp is a light turquoise.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:34 PM
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I see flashes of light when I am surprised by sounds with my eyes closed, usually when I am just trying to fall asleep - not necessarily in a near-sleep state, as it takes me a long time to fall asleep. Often I've been lying with my eyes closed and I'll hear the trash truck bang a dumpster lid and it's like there was a flashbulb going off in my room.

I've also visualized patterns of light going with music, but that seems more like normal imagination than the phenomenon described above.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sunglasses
There was a thread several months ago on this very subject but, I'll be darned if I can find it.
Ahem.

And whaddya know, it sank like a stone. No, I'm not bitter at all.
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Old 12-03-2002, 04:43 PM
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I was just going to start this thread...creepy.

Music has shapes in my head. I don't see them, I feel them. The bass line is a dark purple and wavy line underneath everything else, drums are sharp but not pointed, piano/keyboards are little dots that come and go, and the lead guitar is usually something bold and bright. Sometimes, it's red (electric guitar) or silvery tappings in my head (acoustic).

And roses smell like drops of mercury, only the drops are water-silver, not metallic-silver.

My mother and I agree that Wednesday is green, but she thinks Thursday is green, too, while it's obviously a deep red with hints of burtn orange.

I did a big research paper on synesthesia for biology last year (3+ pages, IIRC. ANd 10 differen sources.) I'll send it to you if you e-mail me.
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Old 12-03-2002, 05:53 PM
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One thing I was wondering....is this really as prevalent as these boards make it seem, or is there some tie-in with the type of people who are here? These boards tend to be populated with very literate people, obviously people who enjoy reading, but I'm aware that a lot of you write your own stuff, or play music, etc. Is there a link, do you think, between seeing colours/shapes/gender with letters and numbers, and being a type of person who reads/writes/etc?

Basically, are you here because reading/writing posts is visually stimulating as well as mentally stimulating, or do you think there's not really a connection? It could be an interesting study into this phenomenon....

Also, if you're given a green sheet of paper with red text (red ink) on it, do you still see the individual colours, or do you see the intended red? Do you notice that it IS intended to be red, and is that a different "knowledge of the colour you're seeing" ? Does the green background distract you, or make green letters "fade" ? On white paper, do white letters disappear?

=mnemosyne, who is squinting at things she types, trying to see if there's colour...but no..its black on grey through and through
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Old 12-03-2002, 06:47 PM
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I do the day of the week/color thing too, as well as with songs. For instance, Dancing in the Moonlight by Van Morrison is white with blue splotches. And Sweet Home Alabama, which is on next, is red.
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Old 12-03-2002, 08:21 PM
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I see classical music as ribbons of light representing seperate instruments. Continuous instruments (wind instruments, violins, etc) are smooth ribbons of color. Pianos are bumpier ribbons, and percussion instruments are bursts of color. Deeper notes=darker colors.

With vocals, I see a singer singing against the classical backdrop.

I also see timelines. The future is to the right, and the past is marked out decade by decade, until you get to the 1800s--then it's marked out in centuries.

I remember the months by picturing the signs above the chalk board in 1st grade.

I know vowels are female and consonants are male. I think this is because of the PBS show "alphabetland" or something like that, where the letters went on adventures.

You know, after I learnt my mom didn't do this, I thought I was wierd. But I'm not! Or maybe we all are. How common is this?
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Old 12-03-2002, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gallows fodder
I perceive shape/texture/area from smells
I do this too, especially with essential oils. I can't stand the scent of clary sage because although it is round and sort of velvety, it has a gaping black HOLE in the middle of it. <shudders>

I make a blend of rosemary and eucalyptus and lavender though...mmm! It's a wide open valley on a cold, black, night, when the stars are brilliant. Sorta like a cough drop commercial. Heh.
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:32 PM
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I see people in colour and textures. I can't remember faces, I remember feelings, scents, and colours. It's wearing off a bit as I get older, but people are a mixed bag of sensory impressions. I'm velvet black, with faint rose shading into wine red- like light on velvet. My SO is green, purple, dark red, and black, with sandalwood and frankincence.

It doesn't have anything to do with concious symbolism . I just know what colours people are.

3 is female/hermaphrodite. 2 is very definitely feminine. 1 is male, and so is 7.
  #40  
Old 12-04-2002, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Badtz Maru
I see flashes of light when I am surprised by sounds with my eyes closed, usually when I am just trying to fall asleep - not necessarily in a near-sleep state, as it takes me a long time to fall asleep. Often I've been lying with my eyes closed and I'll hear the trash truck bang a dumpster lid and it's like there was a flashbulb going off in my room.
I experience this, too, but my eyes don't have to be closed and I don't have to be half-asleep. And it seems that I see the flash of white light before my brain even registers the noise. Anyway, is this a form of synesthesia? I didn't think it was.

Are there very mild forms of synesthesia? I thought it had to be an all-or-nothing thing.

I don't physically see numbers as colours, or smell sounds or whatnot, but I know that I experience certain things differently than others (a song being like outerspace with everything spaced far apart, and the number five, although I don't physically see it as green, mentally I always picture it that colour and "5" makes me think of my brother, etc.) I've been told on more than one occasion that I have an odd way of describing things, and plenty of times people don't follow me. I figure I just have an overactive imagination.
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Old 12-04-2002, 12:46 AM
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Menemosyne said:

Quote:
One thing I was wondering....is this really as prevalent as these boards make it seem, or is there some tie-in with the type of people who are here? These boards tend to be populated with very literate people, obviously people who enjoy reading, but I'm aware that a lot of you write your own stuff, or play music, etc. Is there a link, do you think, between seeing colours/shapes/gender with letters and numbers, and being a type of person who reads/writes/etc?
That is a fascinating and orange post!

I too would like to know how many of the synesthetics here are writers, artists, craftsmen, musicians, etc.

I write, but not as much as I used to. And I do credit synesthesia with providing the images, tastes, etc. that I describe. I think the last poem I wrote ended with "I taste the sunlight on his skin."

I'm also musically inclined (writing and playing) and I design beaded jewelry and needlepoints.

All of my life I have had a passion for color. On the wall in the office is a photograph of me made when I was two and a half. In it I am sitting on a sculpted wooden horse and have a sombrero on my head. The picture was in black and white but I can remember that the sombrero was purple. My coat was a deep plum.

Do any of you synesthetics have memories that go back that far? (I can remember back to the age of 25 months. That is the earliest that I can put a date on.

Morgainelf, I'm glad to see that you followed up on the suggestion! I hope that my questions are not a hijack. If they are, then ...[/hijack]
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  #42  
Old 12-04-2002, 02:24 AM
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Like benson, songs have colors for me. Some books also have colors. And numbers, especially telephone numbers, have textures/personalities: some phone numbers can be bumpy, or faintly Wagnerian, or hyper-macho, or what-have-you.

Certain words have tastes as well, but not all words. And you know how they talk about people having one dominant sense? Mine is apparently alphanumeric; I can't remember a person's name until I know how it's spelled, even if I say it over and over. This can be extraordinarily frustrating, though it's not quite as exclusive now as it was when I was younger.

And to answer Zoe's question: I write a bit, and I've been playing guitar for 14 years (but I completely suck at it).
  #43  
Old 12-04-2002, 03:30 AM
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This doesn't appear to be synesthesia, but I remember as a kid I would divide my classmates up into an even number or an odd number depending on how they would appear to me. The numbers themselves weren't male or female and so gender had no bearing on whether you were even or odd. You just were even or you were odd.
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  #44  
Old 12-04-2002, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Often, my dreams lack much sound as well. Usually, the people in my dreams have "thought bubbles" -- exactly what you'd see in comic strips -- and so I read what they're saying rather than hear it. Bizarre?
for some reason that just sounds unbelievably cool to me. lucky!

as for me? I often think/write 5 as f. But I always figured it was cause 5 was spelled five. hrm maybe i'm a synaethesiac? probably not.

I too would like to know if this has any connection with artistic ability of something else such as intelligence(since I notice the IQ of this board seems quite a ways above the mean).
  #45  
Old 12-04-2002, 09:22 AM
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I wonder if mild synesthesia is actually more prevalent than research has shown, but just not widely talked about? It could be that people on this board are more comfortable talking about their eccentricities! (Or that there are alot of eccentrics here... intelligent ones, of course. )g

mnemosyne, There are a few different categories of synesthetes. Some project colors on to letters, numbers, etc., and actually see the colors. Others just have a sense that a color = a letter, number, etc.

From what I've read (since yesterday!), most synesthetes are female (about 70%), and it tends to run in families.
  #46  
Old 12-04-2002, 10:03 AM
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Anyone read The Man Who Tasted Shapes? I hope I didn't botch that title, I'm going from memory. (And sorry if someone mentioned it earlier - I may have missed that.)

I knew someone once who said that she read by smell because each letter had a certain smell. It's a fascinating topic and I was surprised to see a thread about it.

I don't experience this but wish I could try for just an hour or so.

Tibs.
  #47  
Old 12-04-2002, 10:40 AM
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Oh. My. God. There are other people like this? I have done things like this all my life, I just thought I was insane. Oh, oh, now I need to share with you all!

For me, almost everything gets some sort of 'assigment' in terms of color, texture, shape, gender, etc., though most things not all at once. For me,

1= white, neuter. It feels cold, and if I think too long about the number 1, I get a chill through my whole body. It reminds me of walking on melting ice wearing socks.

2= definitely yellow and female. 2 reminds me of a litle girl drinking orange juice ou of a plastic sippy-cup. I can feel the plastic on my teeth when I say the word 'two'.

3= green, neuter.

4= purple, male. 4 is a little boy in brown shorts bouncing a ball on blacktop. It's sort of warm.

5= red, male. 5 is always equal to the letter F for me, too.

6= female, either white or pale yellow. Tastes like lemon soda.

7= male, green. Also cold, very smooth. Tastes like lime juice. 7 is equal to the letter L.

8= female, dark yellow. 8 is an old woman with a lace cap.

9= male, dark purple. Kind of menacing.

10= neuter, black.

Letters are seldom male or female, but they have colors. G and H are dark purple, but have no relationship to 9. A is yellow, B is blue, C is green, D is brown, E is ornage, F is red, I is white, J is purple, K is light blue, L is green, M is red, N is black, O is pink, P is a brownish rose color, Q is bright blue, R is red, S is green, T is brown, U is orange, V is yellow, W is blue, X is white, Y is black, and Z is purple.

Names also have colors, but sometimes mental pictures, shapes, textures, sounds, etc. Here's a few:

Joan= single strum of an acousic guitar
Amy= yellow, sounds like dripping water
Mark= red, sounds like knuckles on a wooden object
Lisa= green and yellow, eating a lemon slice
Carrie= blue, smells like hair

Monday is dark blue. Tuesday is yellow, Wednesday is lighter blue, Thursday is purple, Friday is orange. Saturday is light blue, and Sunday is purple. All the days of the week except Wednesday and Thursday are male.

A year is shaped like a rectangle. When you join them up, they make chains.

I do this with people and animals, too. When I meet someone, they immediately remind me of a type of animal.
  #48  
Old 12-04-2002, 11:28 AM
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Hmmm. I never really thought of myself as a synesthesiacic, but...
OK, I didn't follow the link, but I plan to as soon as I'm done with this post.

I've done acid a few times, and I know what the color red tastes like.

To me sound and feeling (in the tactile sense) are one and the same, even when I'm not, ah, chemically enhanced. A Ritchie Blackmore guitar solo is, and probably always will be, one of my major sexual turn-ons, just because of the sinuous feel to his guitar playing.

I've never really assigned gender to numbers,or letters, but I do tend to assign personalilty to inanimate objects.

I don't think synesthesia is a rare phenomenon. It's just something that most people don't think about.

OK, I'm off to the link now.
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  #49  
Old 12-04-2002, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mnemosyne
One thing I was wondering....is this really as prevalent as these boards make it seem, or is there some tie-in with the type of people who are here?
That is an excellent question, naturally I have no idea. I suspect that it's more prevalent in society in general than the current literature makes it seem. I also think that the definitions are so broad, and so many things "count" as synesthesia that it's hard to get an accurate read on how many people experience things like this.

I was reading one article on line that talked about rather sophisticated theories about why this happens, what is happening in the brain on a chemical level to make, for example, someone think the month of May is yellow. However, I know for a fact why I think the month of May is yellow -- it's because the posters for the months of the year in my pre-school room where brightly colored, and May was yellow. I've never been able to figure out if this would be counted as synesthetic or not. It's very yellow, it doesn't just remind me of yellow, it is yellow, but to me, at least, its no great mystery as to why that is.

It's probably also telling that my math problems that have tastes are all nice, dessertish tastes. It's reasonable to think that little 7 year old me was looking forward to dessert with great anticipation while I was supposed to be studying my times tables. I don't remember this at all, but it seems likely to me.
  #50  
Old 12-04-2002, 12:33 PM
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it's because the posters for the months of the year in my pre-school room where brightly colored, and May was yellow. I've never been able to figure out if this would be counted as synesthetic or not. It's very yellow, it doesn't just remind me of yellow, it is yellow, but to me, at least, its no great mystery as to why that is.
I think this is tied into synesthesia, even if it is not technically the same process - did you notice people saying that it fades with age? I remember being much more prone to the linking process as a child. I think we cross-wire more easily between senses as children, so if you have an open enough process, you could link the two paths - every time you see May, you see yellow, so both paths fire at once, and a path is reinforced, and the concepts link or blend. Concept May then becomes inextricably linked with experience Yellow. May IS yellow. I've got similar links from childhood for flavors - a greenish flavor, etc. And I feel flavors in layers, as notes. My family seems to use the terminology the same way (that sauce is missing a bass note), so not sure if that was an influenced link or a spontaneous one - I can taste if an ingredient is missing by feeling/sensing/hearing what note is missing, though it feels (depth/layer) more than it sounds.

I've read the book (the man who tasted shapes) and it is fascinating stuff. Notably the tendency to have higher events rates whenever the cerebral cortex is at low function (depression, extremely tired, altered states). I suspect that due to the overlap in depression/altered states in artistic types with the higher experience-rate of synesthesia when in those states, you'll find more artist types who are aware of the experience. Not necessarily more who have it, but more who are in states where they experience it often enough to notice it.

And that sound=flashes of lights is a classic for synesthesia - check the book.

I get slight shape overlays on the center of my palms with voices (individual people's voices), but only when I'm tired or depressed. I don't have the process active every day all the time, it is too slight in my case - very minor. But I distinctly remember one guy's voice as being pointy, in a papery, three-sided, steep pyramid shape, but soft behind it, as if the pyramid was glued to the top of a cotton ball.

Oh, and um, sex kicks it off for me, too. Most interesting textures occur during my most, em, altered states...
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