# What colours do you see numbers as?

Inspired by the ‘things just you do’ thread:

1: Not sure
2: Yellow
3: Blue
4: A reddy orange colour
5: Green
6: A yellowy orange colour
8: Beige. A little browner than 6
9: Dark Blue

I wonder if you’re a synesthete? I’ve always been slightly envious, not being one myself.

Yes, I am a synesthete as well. I get

0: white
1: green
2: yellow
3: orange
4: blue
5:green
6: grey
7: reddish orange
8: light blue
9: orange
10: black

I also see colors for days of the week and months of the year. I am also left-handed.

Wow, you guys are totally seeing the wrong colors. The obviously correct answers are:
0: clear
1: black
2: blue
3: golden yellow
4: fuchsia
5: sort of a reddish-brown
6: light grayish blue
7: purple – around the same hue as 4 but a bit darker
8: a sort of ochre-ish brown
9: A darker and maybe slightly cooler brown than 8. Maybe we could call it burnt sienna.

I also envision the alphabet as having colors.

Scary… I was going to post this thread the other day (was going to call it “What colors are your letters?”) but never got around to it… Then I just posted in another thread about synesthesia (the “Am I the Only One?” thread)… And then I find this one.

Anyway, my numbers aren’t too colorful (most of them are black, might have something to do with my aversion to math… odd considering all I do for a living is math now, and I love it)

A = Red
B = Blue
C = Yellow
D = Green
E = Pink
F = Brown
G = Blue
H = Brown
I = Yellow

Not gonna do my whole alphabet because I have to go to work. I just remember how happy I was to figure out that this was something other people did (for the first few years of my doing it, I thought everyone did… When I found out “no one” else did, I thought I was freak. Glad to be a well-accompanied freak, at least

I initially hesitated to give my color for zero above, as one of the arguments against synesthesia being a genuine, hard-wired brain phenomenon is that the colors are actually cognitive associations coming from our life experiences (particularly childhood). So zero being white (my perception) or clear (from Already in Use) mighty actually contribute to the naysayers’ argument.

Anyone else get a neutral color for zero?

My BF is a synesthete, so I’ve read a few things about it. It seems the colors that “come up” associated with vowels, numbers, sounds etc. differ from person to person.
They do remain the same throughout time, though. If for you the number zero is grey, it will *always * sound gray.

There are tests on the Internet that can test objectively if one is a synesthete. Those tests are based on the same principle as the ones for colorblindness. Synesthete’s see the “hidden” shapes much sooner then non-synesthetes, because they to them the hidden shape has an obvious color that makes it stand out.

OK, go on, I’ll do the letters as well. Some of them don’t have colours properly associated:

A: Reddish orange
B: Light yellow
C: Light green
D: Mustard yellow
E: Pastel blue or purple
F: Fuchsia Pink/purple
G: Orange
H: Reddish brown
I: Doesn’t really have a colour
J: Dark bluish green
K: Orange
L: Dark purple
M: Bluish-purple
N: Beige
O: Doesn’t really have a colour
P: Light-mid Blue
Q: Bluish purple
R: Bluish grey
S: Yellow
T: Greyish brown
U: Mid-dark Blue
V: Purple
W: Blue
X: No colour
Y: Brownish yellow
Z: Yellowy Orange

I don’t think it’s true synesthesia, more 'if I was drawing these letters these;d be the colours I’d be inclined to draw them. They’ve always been pretty much the same as far as I can remember. I, O and X can be any colour and they’ll look just as right.

Eh, I doubt I’m a true synaesthete in the first place. Numbers and letters always trigger the same color associations in my mind, and I doubt that I could think of numbers without those associations being brought to mind. However, I only see the colors in my mind’s eye, not in “real space” like a hallucination. But how can number/letter synaesthesia be hardwired anyway? After all, the base-ten Arabic numerals and Roman alphabet are taught, not innate. Sure, the likelihood of its happening could be innate, but the exact associations must be acquired somehow.

0 white or gray
1 black
2 orange
3 purple
4 yellow
5 green
6 cyan
7 blue
8 red
9 dark blue/indigo

Here are mine:

0: Clear/white
1: Clear/white
2: Green
3: Yellow
4: Red
5: Blue
6: Brown/Tan
7: Purple
8: Red, but darker than 4
9: Black

A: Red
B: Blue
C: Yellow
D: Green
E: Tan
F: Black
G: Orange
H: Light Purple
I: White/Clear
J: Reddish Purple
K: Green
L: Light Purple
M: Brown
N: Black
O: White/Clear
P: Orangish Yellow
Q: Light Purple
R: Mid-to-Dark Purple
S: Dark Blue
T: Navy Blue
U: Very Light Pinkish Purple
V: Green
W: Blue
X: Black
Y: Orangish Yellow
Z: Purple

I’ve had these associations ever since I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure I’m a synesthete. Sometimes the colors of the letters can be affected a little by the other letters around them, and words and names are generally dominated by either the most dominant one or two colors or the first letter of the word.

I remember being very happy to find out that other people do this too–I never really thought about it as a kid. I’m not sure I even thought everybody did it–it was just so much an innate part of me that it never even registered in my mind.

Another self-described synaesthete is me. Some letters/number seem to have stronger color associations than others for me, but in general I see:

0 - icy white
1 - white
2 - yellow
3 - brick red
4 - blue-grey
5 - pink
6 - light green (bright green, not pale)
7 - orange-brown
8 - red orange
9 - light blue
10 - yellow

A - red
B - brown
C - green
D - brown-black
E - yellow
F - brown
G - olive green
H - orange-yellow
I - white
J - green
K - blueish periwinkle
L - magenta with overtones of blue-grey
M - dark(ish) blue
N - orange
O - yellow or white
P - pink (salmon color sort of)
R - green
S - red
T - orange
U - grey
V - light green
Y - red-brown
Z - yellowish white

January - light green
February - pink
March - navy blue
April - Red-violet
May - lavender
June - light green (more yellow than january)
July - dark green
August - Red with slight brown quality
September - red with more brown quality
October - orange-yellow
November - blue-white (light blue)
December - dark blue (slightly lighter than march)

Sunday - red-orange
Monday - light blue
Tuesday - dirty orange
Wednesday - white
Thursday - similar to Tuesday
Friday - red
Saturday - red-brown

Being an active subway rider in NYC, I have been associating numbers and letters with colors for a long time, without even second thought:

1 = red (which also falls under the 1st grade rule that red and apple must always come first on any color or fruit list)
2 = red express-wakefield
3 = red express-harlem
4 = green express
5 = green part time
6 = green local
7 = purple

A, C, E = blue
B, D, F, V = orange
G = light green
J, M, Z = brown
L, S = grey
N, Q, R, W = yellow

I visualize colors for fractions:

1/8 - purple
1/7 - green
1/6 - yellow
1/5 - sky blue
1/4 - orange
1/3 -red
1/2 - dark blue
1 - black

Also I see the days of the week spatially. Imagine I’m a fighter pilot:
Sunday - 9 o’clock
Monday - 10 o’clock
Tuesday - 11 o’clock
Wednesday - 12 o’clock
Thursday - 1 o’clock
Friday - combo with Thursday (which is why I mentally check out of work on Thursdays)
Saturday - 2 o’clock
Sunday - 3 o’clock

I even tilt my head to these positions when I’m talking about a certain day.

Two is orange, three is green and seven is purple. The rest I would have to think harder about and don’t want to right now. I get stronger associations between sounds/smells/textures and colors. I told my wife about this and she eyes me suspiciously now. She did a search on-line and came up with something, but I don’t remember. I better go back and check that link.

Delta-32 Skee-do!

Another synesthete here. Not only do I see colors for numbers, I also see shapes and colors for sounds sometimes.

1. Black
2. White
3. Lemon Yellow
4. Sky blue
5. Orange
6. Pinkish black- I see both at the same time superimposed
7. Grey or silver
8. Dark Brown
9. Orange slightly darker than #4
10. Dark green
Colors from 10-19 are a mix of white (1)and the color for the second number. Numbers from 20-29 are yellow(2, but slighter richer, more a cadmium yellow) with a bit of the second number color, etc.
Also I see colors for letters:
A. Pink
B. Yellow
C. Silver
D. Dark Purple
E. Blue
F. Light Blue
G. Green
H. Tan
I. White
J. Pink
K. Charcoal with a hint of blue
L. Grey
M. Dark Grey
N. Dark Brown
O. Black
P. Dark Green( hooker green)
Q. Silver
R. Red( duh)
S. Pink
T. Black
U. Yellow
V. Dark Green( Pthalo green)
W. Green
X. Colorless-maybe clear
Y. Yellow
Z. Green

Sounds that I see usually look like a highly distorted brown and tan checkerboard, though one time I saw the sound my alarm clock made as a bright violet feild of static. Usually it has to be a sound that wakes me up for me to see it. Once my mind gets into proper gear the effect goes away.
Y

OK, does anyone NOT see A as red?

Most of us only see numbers and letters as colored with colored text. (the stroop task must be harder for those of you who see colored letters! http://www.apa.org/science/stroop.html ) Even those of us who are synesthetes don’t always see it the way you do.

I see sound, but I don’t expect most people to know that sharp noises are white or black and white or even purple depending on if they’re low or high sounds

How about number relationships- I mean I see them as actual relationships. Like 9 and 8 are competitive towards each other, and 17 (the sum) is a male that they create that they both want to lay claim to.

Maybe hard-wired is not the right word. What is mean is that in synesthetes, there is a connection between the part of the brain that processes letters and numbers (which are learned), and the visual part. OK, that is greatly simplified, and I am sure the SciAm article explains it much better, but that is what I meant by hard-wired. An organic connection. Skeptics believe that the associations are learned, for example by the colored alphanumeric fridge magnets we used as kids. However, regarding that one, my brother is a synesthete as well (much stronger than me), and he sees different colors for the numbers, despite having shared fridge magnets, blocks, etc.

On the zero issue, I count 6 people so far that have a neutral color for zero (clear, white, grey, or black), and only one that does not (red). I suspect that the nul concept of zero might get associated with the lack of color in some people?