Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Are You a Synesthete and Didn't Know it?

I am and didn't :)

Friday night, for family movie night, we were watching NOVA...we're just kind of weird like that :)...
It was on the brain and they briefly mentioned a neurological condition called Synesthesia.
I had never heard of it before but it was fascinating!
Basically, it's a blending of the senses.
So you get people who smell colors and some who taste sounds.
Most of the more common types deal with colors.  Many synesthetes associate a color with each letter of the alphabet...every time they see an "A" it is literally red to them and so on and so forth.
I thought that this was so interesting that after the show was over I hopped on the internet to learn more about it.
I came across a blog called Synesthesia Test and read this post.
I couldn't believe what I was reading!  Especially the comments after the post...what they were describing was so familiar!  I realized I most likely have Spacial Sequencing Synesthesia.
I remember about a year ago I asked my husband what he saw when he thought of the months of the year.  He was confused by my question so I told him what I "saw" and asked him again what he saw.  He said he didn't "see" anything.  I thought that was weird.  After all, doesn't everyone have a picture in their mind of what the months of the year look like?  I really didn't give it another thought until I started reading about SSS and realized not everyone does have a "months of the year picture" in their head....or a "days of the week" picture or a "timeline of years" picture.
So crazy!  Many of these commenters expressed similar thoughts that they just assumed that's how everyone was...until they realized it wasn't and then they thought they must be crazy somehow.  Many of them expressed relief to find a place to talk about it with other people that would understand and not give them a funny look in return.

This is what I see...
Days of the week:  I see the current day with the surrounding days kind of blurred around it.
I see the years as a sort of tilted and ascending timeline with definite century marks.  My birth year is also visible...along with the current year.

I tried to do this on the computer but didn't have much luck...
From my view point (down in the left corner) the circle of months is very big.  It's interesting that my perspective is from in front of my birth month...something I read a couple of other commenters describe.
When I tried to evenly space the months around the circle it just wasn't right.  The way I see it, the summer months are kind of squished down at the bottom and the late fall/winter months are more spread out at the top.

I was fascinated by this on Friday night while I was reading and honestly, felt kind of special all of a sudden :)  However, apparently, some studies have shown up to 20% or so of the population have some type of synesthesia.  It is also believed that it is often hereditary and mostly found in females.
When talking to my mom about it, it seems that she has the same type of SSS tendencies.

Spacial Sequencing Synesthesia is not the most common type nor is it the least common.  (To me, it seems like the most boring least, mine has no color involved, no taste, sound or feel...just a picture).  I also feel that my case is rather mild.  Some of the comments on the above mentioned blog post are incredible as to the detail that some of these people see.  What I see, though undeniable, consistent, and unsolicited, is somewhat dim and vague.

In conclusion, I think it is kind of nifty that I have a mild case of SS Synesthesia...a "diagnosis" :) that I was completely unaware of until this weekend.
So, what do you think?  Did any of this ring true with you?  Might you have one of the many types of synesthesia and be able to proudly claim the title of a Synesthete?!


  1. My computer is giving me grief and won't load the link so I can take the test. If you have a boring, mild case, mine is even more so! My months won't even gather into a circle--just a dull column. I'll have to try and draw out how I see the days of the week.

  2. Thank you!! I have always thought that there was something wrong with me. (One of my things is mourning), I have joked that I could be a professional funeral attender because it hurts so badly when I go. I have Mirror-touch synesthesia. I didn't even know it was a thing.

  3. I think I first heard about synesthesia from a magazine article about people who see colors when they hear music. I have to admit that I was a little jealous, because it sounds really cool! That's neat that you have a version of it. Occasionally I see words in my head as I say them, but usually if that happens I end up pronouncing them wrong! But that's the closest thing I have...

  4. I used to work with a guy who sees a color for each day of the week, and he has to wear the correct color of shirt on the correct day. If he doesn't it just messes up his day! He is also very OCD about a lot of things - he has to separate Skittles and M&Ms by color and eat them in a certain order. Rotates everything - clothes, dishes, food, etc. I have a mild case of OCD on a lot of these things as well, but I don't see, smell, taste, etc, a single thing when I think of a month or day! Interesting info!

  5. Wow! That's way cool! I took the test and is says I am...but I really have no idea! Fun stuff to think about. :)