Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Synesthesia, subjectively

  1. Top | #1
    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sector 001
    Posts
    9,210
    Archived
    14,435
    Total Posts
    23,645
    Rep Power
    59

    Synesthesia, subjectively

    Do you experience synesthesia? Colors and shapes of music, which is common, or the supposedly less common colors and other traits imbued in letters and numbers? Perhaps other weird sensory associations?

    Thinking about two things made me start this thread: articulation and synesthesia.

    First I was thinking about the creative power of articulation and how just searching for words to describe something new brings experiences to more vivid life in your understanding. I thought about what would be a good example of this and synesthesia immediately came to mind.

    I've had this synesthesia thing for as long as I can remember, mostly visual in nature, color, shape, movement, and later on gender and even personalities imbued into letters and numerals and other things. Before I learned to read, it was mainly music that took color and form and emotion in my mind, and writing or printing was just squiggles on paper, no color or anything. Once I learned to read, numerals and letters took on not only color but often gender and personality. These superfluous traits sometimes change, but there's a lot of consistency there. Fives will always be bright and bold for me, orange or red, like if the numeral 5 were a person, he'd be male and would be very outgoing and friendly and brave. And the number 23 will always be pretty, like a blue flower with green leaves. The number 23 has no real meaning for me, but it's always been a number I love. When my sisters and I were little kids playing house, we gave ourselves ages and I was always 23, based purely on 23 being pretty.

    But I never thought much about it or talked about it at all. It never occurred to me to tell anyone about it. In hindsight, had I thought about it as something worthy of mentioning, I would have assumed it was something that happened to everyone. I'm still not entirely convinced it's not all of us. I think some of you just don't notice. I guess it's like when I heard about people who can't think visually at all. They can't conjure up images in their minds. I just can't imagine that. I don't understand how they function, but they do, and they don't consider it a handicap, although I imagine they probably sometimes get frustrated with visual thinkers expecting them to be the same.

    So synesthesia was just something that was there. It wasn't something I did after the fact. The synesthesia informs me of what color or other trait something will be imbued with, not the other way around. I think it's common for people to have visual representations of music, even music that is recalled rather than being actively listened to. So if that's true for you and you can sort of explore that process of music taking color and form in your mind and how it just seems to come from the music and not from you, then you understand synesthesia. That's my belief, anyway.

    In thinking about how letters and numerals came to be imbued with color and other traits for me only after I learned to read and do math, I suspect that synesthesia happens along with the process of imbuing abstract meaning, in the process of how we apply meaning to anything as we experience and learn. Obviously, it's not a process that can be directly observed. The brain has already done its thing in applying meaning before you can consciously be aware of the meaning of something, at least in terms of application.

    Another way to get what I'm trying to say is to think or say a word over and over until it loses meaning. I'm sure everyone's experienced that before. Say or think a word over and over and it becomes something weird and alien. That's the process of undoing the meaning that your brain had applied behind the scenes in a process starting when you first began hearing and using a word repeatedly enough that the imbued meaning became the thing and the details of the grouping of letters no longer needed attention.

    So my idea of what's going on with synesthesia is that it's a kind of side effect of the subconscious process of imbuing meaning in the practical way for normal, useful things.

    Anyway, back to articulation. Synesthesia was something I never thought to articulate until someone else did it for me when I learned the word synesthesia and read about its meaning. Wow, it's a thing that people talk about and describe, it has a name, it has people who study it for fuck's sake! WHOOOAAAAA. My mind was blown. Even though synesthesia was something I have experienced for as long as I can remember, now, by reading others' articulations and forming my own, the whole thing has taken on a whole new life and level of detail and understanding for me. Something that wasn't all that interesting to me before, but had always existed for me in a very real way, is now really super interesting due to the power of articulation.

    If anyone else here experiences synesthesia or has thoughts on this, especially if you have educated insights into the things I describe in my layman's terms, I'd love to hear about it.

    What color is your favorite singer's voice? Are poems colorful? Like in a more literal way than the usual metaphors we use for pleasant or interesting use of language? How about olfactory synesthesia? I don't get that one. I can imagine smells to a degree, but they don't play a role in my synesthesia. I'd love to hear more about that if you experience it.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

  2. Top | #2
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    NOT laying back and thinking of England
    Posts
    8,666
    Archived
    3,655
    Total Posts
    12,321
    Rep Power
    43
    I’ve had some moments or periods of synesthesia but not to the extent I’ve read or heard it described by some others such as yourself. I still associate numbers —or rather, digits for the most part, with genders and also sometimes colors. I have some slight hearing loss from too many ear infections as a child so I never saw music. I don’t even hear it as well as anybody with a modest background in music. The most intense moments have been during sex or just touching, not necessarily during sex but in intimate moments. Until you wrote this I had never considered that some earlier issues with arithmetic were a form of synesthesia. It used to take me hours to do math homework, not because I had trouble finding the answer. I usually knew it immediately without calculation. Instead, I would feel compelled by and distracted by all these other characteristics of digits and numbers: gender, color, relationships with one another (not in the arithmetic way). This caused me so much grief as my parents did not understand why my math was taking me so long as I clearly knew the answers that I think I found ways to quiet or ignore the distractions. As I grew older in school I became aware that literature that I liked and good poetry affected me in ways it didn’t affect other people. I felt colors and certain words or phrases in ways that other people did not. I don’t think I understood that I was unusual. There was a lot of emotional repression in my upbringing.

    I was always just told by my mother and other family that I had an over active -and weird imagination. This was certainly true by their standards. I didn’t ever think of it as weird or different but I also didn’t really ‘get’ that this was a thing until I began to experience touch as vivid flowing colors during sex—and then rather ‘magically’ the word synesthesia popped into my head.

    My apologies experiences are much more limited and much milder than yours are—much more muted. Maybe this is not tru synesthesia. I would think the more intense experiences would be quite overwhelming.

  3. Top | #3
    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sector 001
    Posts
    9,210
    Archived
    14,435
    Total Posts
    23,645
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Toni View Post
    I’ve had some moments or periods of synesthesia but not to the extent I’ve read or heard it described by some others such as yourself. I still associate numbers —or rather, digits for the most part, with genders and also sometimes colors. I have some slight hearing loss from too many ear infections as a child so I never saw music. I don’t even hear it as well as anybody with a modest background in music. The most intense moments have been during sex or just touching, not necessarily during sex but in intimate moments. Until you wrote this I had never considered that some earlier issues with arithmetic were a form of synesthesia. It used to take me hours to do math homework, not because I had trouble finding the answer. I usually knew it immediately without calculation. Instead, I would feel compelled by and distracted by all these other characteristics of digits and numbers: gender, color, relationships with one another (not in the arithmetic way). This caused me so much grief as my parents did not understand why my math was taking me so long as I clearly knew the answers that I think I found ways to quiet or ignore the distractions.
    Interesting. This is new information. I've never been distracted by synesthesia when doing math or reading or anything else. It was just something there, inherent to the numerals and letters. Like the way you see a person, say your mom, and you don't think about the fact that she's female. It's just a fact of her being that is part of the substrate, no need to pick it out of all the myriad points of information about her that your brain automatically puts together. So, for me, the numeral 9 being pale yellow and female is something I never think about except in conversations about synesthesia.

    I wonder if your distractions with numerals could be related to something like dyslexia. I don't know what dyslexia is like, but people who have it often say that words and letters seem to dance around and things like that.

    (Side note: facial recognition is a seriously underrated superpower of our brains that can be applied to other things, like chessboards in play where a player can tell what's going on in the game with just a glance while boards with randomly placed pieces have no meaning, like a face with features missing or out of proper placement.)

    As I grew older in school I became aware that literature that I liked and good poetry affected me in ways it didn’t affect other people. I felt colors and certain words or phrases in ways that other people did not. I don’t think I understood that I was unusual. There was a lot of emotional repression in my upbringing.
    I'm not convinced it's unusual, just perceived differently given different cognitive tendencies. But it's interesting that you mention emotional repression in relation to this topic. Something to ponder.

    I was always just told by my mother and other family that I had an over active -and weird imagination. This was certainly true by their standards. I didn’t ever think of it as weird or different but I also didn’t really ‘get’ that this was a thing until I began to experience touch as vivid flowing colors during sex—and then rather ‘magically’ the word synesthesia popped into my head.

    My apologies experiences are much more limited and much milder than yours are—much more muted. Maybe this is not tru synesthesia. I would think the more intense experiences would be quite overwhelming.
    Not sure what you mean by "apologies experiences." Autocorrect or typo? As for "true synesthesia," google it and see if any of the information you find about it gives you some insight. Mine is mostly visual but I have some tactile synesthesia with sounds and music. Some sounds feel like literally being touched or like I'm touching something.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

  4. Top | #4
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    NOT laying back and thinking of England
    Posts
    8,666
    Archived
    3,655
    Total Posts
    12,321
    Rep Power
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    Interesting. This is new information. I've never been distracted by synesthesia when doing math or reading or anything else. It was just something there, inherent to the numerals and letters. Like the way you see a person, say your mom, and you don't think about the fact that she's female. It's just a fact of her being that is part of the substrate, no need to pick it out of all the myriad points of information about her that your brain automatically puts together. So, for me, the numeral 9 being pale yellow and female is something I never think about except in conversations about synesthesia.

    I wonder if your distractions with numerals could be related to something like dyslexia. I don't know what dyslexia is like, but people who have it often say that words and letters seem to dance around and things like that.

    (Side note: facial recognition is a seriously underrated superpower of our brains that can be applied to other things, like chessboards in play where a player can tell what's going on in the game with just a glance while boards with randomly placed pieces have no meaning, like a face with features missing or out of proper placement.)


    I'm not convinced it's unusual, just perceived differently given different cognitive tendencies. But it's interesting that you mention emotional repression in relation to this topic. Something to ponder.

    I was always just told by my mother and other family that I had an over active -and weird imagination. This was certainly true by their standards. I didn’t ever think of it as weird or different but I also didn’t really ‘get’ that this was a thing until I began to experience touch as vivid flowing colors during sex—and then rather ‘magically’ the word synesthesia popped into my head.

    My apologies experiences are much more limited and much milder than yours are—much more muted. Maybe this is not tru synesthesia. I would think the more intense experiences would be quite overwhelming.
    Not sure what you mean by "apologies experiences." Autocorrect or typo? As for "true synesthesia," google it and see if any of the information you find about it gives you some insight. Mine is mostly visual but I have some tactile synesthesia with sounds and music. Some sounds feel like literally being touched or like I'm touching something.
    Auto correct for sure. Not sure I intended to type—very early morning for me today. I think I meant my own.

    I don’t think I have dyslexia. Numbers/letters don’t change places for me. I can easily read upside down or backwards or those puzzles with missing letters. It’s more like I would get caught up in properties of the digits. Their relationships to other numbers, factors, ways to manipulate them, but also gender and color. For me, 9 is masculine and 6 is female and red. 2 is also female and 7 is male and green.

    I wonder how much some of our more common expressions came from synesthesia: leaving a sour taste in your mouth, for example.

  5. Top | #5
    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sector 001
    Posts
    9,210
    Archived
    14,435
    Total Posts
    23,645
    Rep Power
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Toni View Post

    Auto correct for sure. Not sure I intended to type—very early morning for me today. I think I meant my own.

    I don’t think I have dyslexia. Numbers/letters don’t change places for me. I can easily read upside down or backwards or those puzzles with missing letters.
    Definitely not dyslexia, then, as I understand it.

    It’s more like I would get caught up in properties of the digits.
    I'm really fascinated by this particular weirdness.

    Their relationships to other numbers, factors, ways to manipulate them, but also gender and color. For me, 9 is masculine and 6 is female and red. 2 is also female and 7 is male and green.

    I wonder how much some of our more common expressions came from synesthesia: leaving a sour taste in your mouth, for example.
    My brain came up with totally different traits for those numbers, except 7 is indeed male, but it's dark brown.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

  6. Top | #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    seattle
    Posts
    4,960
    Rep Power
    12
    The 60s psychedelic experience.

    There are some people whose pathways are cross wired so that sound affects vision. Sounds can modulate color perception.

    The power of imagination. Brian Wilson the Beech Boys composer said when writing music he sees it superimposed on reality in front of him.

    When Van Gough painted Starry Night did he paint what he imagined or what he saw.

    I do not see colors when listening to music. Only way back in the 70s under the influence of drugs.

    For me mood affects color perception for me. Way back when I got out of the hos[ital for a serious infection birds sounded like an orchestra and colors were more vivid. Brain chemistry.

  7. Top | #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Bible Belt, USA
    Posts
    876
    Archived
    2,467
    Total Posts
    3,343
    Rep Power
    63
    Both my daughters have multiple types of synesthesia and my wife has one version.

    Older daughter: Letters, numbers, mathematical symbols, and benzene rings have colors. Sees sound in color. Time is arranged in positions in space. She says that a noisy crowd looks like "clown vomit" and would always make time-lines backwards in history class.

    Younger daughter: Sees letters, numbers, etc. in color. Letters are masculine or feminine. Also has time fixed in space. Had to have a specific color of folder for each subject in grade school.

    Wife: Has times very rigidly set at positions in space. Has trouble using a day planner because of it and always wondered as a kid why calendars had the days arranged so badly. For years after we discovered what time-space synesthesia was she still insisted that everyone must see it the same way but she "just wasn't explaining herself well." One conversation we had: Her: "How do you tell 1 and 3 PM apart?" Me: "3 is later than 1." Her: "What is 'later'?" Me: "Not now." Her: "No wonder you forget to do things.

    One article on synesthesia I read said "there may be a hereditary tendency for synesthesia." Ya think?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •