Can we taste sound, Hear color, See numbers? Well, don’t scratch your head.. let's find out.
The Human brain is an amazing creation, unique in its function and versatility. At birth, our brains are remarkably unfinished. The neurons are present but aren't connected. The cause and effect otherwise response-action is developed by the details of life experiences. The way you react, perception, the stuff you think of, everything depends on the people you surround with, and the experiences faced by you.
Coming to the discussion on the title, can we really taste sound, hear color and see numbers?. Yes, the coupling of 2 or more senses in 2–4% of the world's population is SYNESTHESIA. It is a neurological condition in which the information, which is meant to stimulate one sensory organ stimulates several of your senses producing a combination of responses. Anesthesia meaning no sensation is the opposite of synesthesia meaning joined sensation. It is a non-harmful trait, as it does not affect regular activities.
Synesthesia revolves around 5 sensory organs which are eyes(for seeing), ears(for hearing), tongue(for tasting), nose(for smelling), and skin for touch. The intertwining of senses happens in various ways in a synesthete, the most common form is the Grapheme-color synesthesia, individual letters of the alphabet or number collectively called graphemes appear in a particular color. For example, the letter ‘A’ appears red. Some people when they hear running tap water or the sound of cars honking can trigger a certain color. For some, all the pink shaded colors trigger a memory patch of high pitch sounds. This form is named Chromesthesia which is one of the commonly found synesthesia types. When the senses of ears and skin are cross-connected, the sensation of touch is triggered by a specific sound. This form is called Misophonia. Having one type of synesthesia makes you 50% more likely to have a second type. Researches say that there are at least 80 types of synesthesia.
Synesthesia is not a disorder or mental illness, it’s a way of perceiving things or otherwise a trait. A synesthete can play songs pitch-perfect since they can relate musical notes with color or shape. The unusual linkage with other sensory organs results in great memory power. Synesthesia has long been linked to creativity. Hence left-handers have a higher chance to be a synesthete. The high correlation among the senses creates a path to see the world in a different dimension.
Lady Gaga — voracious singer, Billie Eilish — songwriter and singer, Vladimir Nabokov — a writer of novels, poems, and short stories, are some of the famous personalities with synesthesia. In one of her interviews, Billie Eilish stated, “Everything that I make I’m already thinking of what color it is, and what texture it is, and what day of the week it is, and what number it is, and what shape.” She goes on to describe one of her songs “Bury a friend” as black, brown, and grey color.
Remember the dress(white and gold or blue and black) which became viral in the year 2013?. Yeah we all were shocked and surprised to accept the fact that, same object apears in 2 different colors among people. How is this even possible?. Our brains are wired differently and we sense things differently. The phenomenon revealed differences in human colour perception. So this can be the ultimate proof for the existance of synesthesia.
“An entire life lavishly coloured with agonies and ecstasies, took place in these three pounds” — By David Eagleman(neuroscientist). This is all about synesthesia. More intresting topics are to be explored in the upcoming posts.