Synesthesia (often incorrectly called Synthesia as in my post title,) is an unusual neurological condition where one of the five senses automatically triggers another one of the five senses, and sometimes more than one.
To understand how rare this condition is, it only affects about 0.05% of all people. Additionally, about 0.33% of people have some variation of Synesthesia.
The Synesthesia Condition Explained
If you don’t have Synesthesia, then trying to imagine how it affects people who do have it is quite tricky. The basic definition is that someone who has Synesthesia may for example hear some music, but at the same time they can also physically feel the music, or they can see the music floating around them in different colors.
Another trait of Synesthesia is that the letters of the alphabet or written numbers are seen as various colors. The colors are not interchangeable for each person, so if the number 5 is regarded as the color blue, then it will always be seen as that color for that one person. Since it is believed that Synesthesia is genetic, it is not uncommon for two members of one family to share the condition. This situation can cause mini arguments within the family as the affected members will see different colors for the same number. If the two affected members of the family are children, then expect to hear arguments regarding the color of a particular number for example.
Soooo a • T H R E A D •
where I’m telling you which colour I feel/see to some Kpop songs because of my synesthesia pic.twitter.com/afF4wYd3Mk
— • Happy trail enthusiast • VAV GA 📌 • (@AnotherhardStan) March 18, 2018
The link between the human senses is not only reserved to numbers, however, as any of the senses can be affected. Some people will taste a particular food, and that precise taste will also represent a color to them.
Similarly, there are cases of people with Synesthesia who hear an orchestra playing, and they can see a kaleidoscope of colors as each tone, each note, and every instrument produces its own particular color.
Other effects include the association of a particular color to various pains in the body, tasting words, smelling certain scents when sounds are heard and also feeling that time is a physical thing.
Is Synesthesia A Disorder Or A Blessing?
Synesthesia is one of the few “disorders” that can be described as being a blessing! Most of us spend our lives experiencing five senses, yet people with Synesthesia have an incredible sixth sense. Someone with Synesthesia would miss their sixth sense if it were to suddenly vanish just like you or I would miss one of our five senses if one were taken away.
9 Famous People Who Have (or who had) Synesthesia – Source: Wikipedia (Edited List)
- Pharrell Williams – Sees music as color.
- Stevie Wonder – Sound as color.
- Kanye West – Sees music as color.
- Eddie Van Halen – Sees sound as color.
- Vincent Van Gogh – Saw sounds as colors and saw specific colors as images like fireworks.
- Marilyn Monroe – Saw vibrations when she heard sounds.
- Franz Liszt – Saw music as colors.
- Billy Joel – Sound to color.
- David Hockney – Music to color.