A Study of Synesthesia

Our senses are often delivered to us in an overwhelming, overstimulating fashion. For some of us, our sense of taste is the element that rocks our world, while the sense of smell is particularly pungent for others. And then, there are the others. The final population that is left behind are those whose senses seem to blend together, in a beautiful but puzzling manner. So, what does this group experience exactly?

So, what even is this phenomenon? Some debate that it is a mesmerizing mystery, while others debate that it’s not that special after all. Web MD fills us in some of the origin in this perplexing story with “Synesthesia is a fancy name for when you experience one of your senses through another. For example, you might hear the name "Alex" and see green. Or you might read the word "street" and taste citrus fruit. The word "synesthesia" has Greek roots.” All we know is that this seems like something that every artist would want, as it's almost like everything in the world around you is amplified and each wire is crossed, however perhaps this can become simply too much at times.

Synesthesia is known as a neurological condition to some and a bit of a wives tale to others. For those who believe that this is indeed a real condition, it is said that the “stimulated sense (e.g., taste) produces experiences in a totally different sense (e.g., sight).” as informed to us by NPR’s study on just how deep the rabbit hole goes when it comes to this strange science. Well, apparently it’s not too strong, as it’s been said that an intriguing statistic of one in every twenty seven people are said to have some form of synesthesia. Perhaps we’re all a little more naturally creative than we may give ourselves credit for.

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How does one know if they have this gift of the blurring of one’s senses? It’s said that one of the most popular questions in an attempt to discern whether someone has a pierced & imagined or actual filter of this perspective is to ask what color the number seven is. If you’re wondering, many believe that color is red. 

Are those with this extra special element to their take on the world better than the rest of us? Are the rest of our interpretations of the world around us dull, lifeless and solely one sense? Although it may be easy to be jealous of these special perks, one may find some comfort in the fact that only less than 1 percent of “synesthetes have sensory crossovers” with drinks and food.

 Some say that much of art's greatness comes from those who have been gifted with the peculiar lense of seeing the world. Perhaps if we all try to be a little more present, we'll start to see how much depth each moment to moment can hold. You just may be surprised at how your that chocolate candy bar at lunch reminds you of the sound of the ocean. Listen a little closer and let the world talk back.