On the Brain: When numbers have color: Synesthesia
November 17th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

On the Brain: When numbers have color: Synesthesia

For a special 2 percent of the population, the world seems a little more surreal.

In a condition called synesthesia, there are extra connections among parts of the brain related to individual senses. The actual experience varies, but some say that numbers, letters, sounds or even faces appear to have colors associated with them that most people don't see. For some, it's just an association; others actually do think they see those colors. Here's how color vision works, by the way.

Now, scientists have new clues about how the brains of people with synesthesia give rise to these bizarre-seeming perceptions. Synesthesia expert V.S. Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, presented the findings this week in a  press conference at Neuroscience 2010, the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Among the findings are that the hippocampus, a brain region essential for memory, has extra connections in people who say that certain numbers remind them of particular colors. In contrast, sensory areas of the brain show greater connectivity in those who believe that they are actually seeing these colors in the numbers. Thus, there are different neural mechanisms for these two kinds of synesthesia, finds Romke Rouw of the University of Amsterdam.

This study also found that people with synesthesia generally have more white matter, indicating increased connectivity, in the fusiform gyrus, a brain area involved in the processing color, numbers, letters and faces.

"It doesn't get any better in neuroscience, when you get a quirky, odd, crazy psychological phenomenon and actually pin it down to changes on wiring in the brain, based on genes," Ramachandran said.

Research presented by David Brang at the University of California, San Diego suggests that the synesthestic brain uses this increased connectivity to transfer information from one area to another. He and colleagues used magnetoencephalography, a method of recording neural activity. They showed that activity in the brains people with synesthesia flows from the visual areas to the visual processing areas in recognizing a number, and then to the brain's color area about five to 10 milliseconds later. This did not happen in participants who do not have the condition.

Ramachandran and colleagues have also identified a gene that appears to be involved in the condition. Although synesthesia does not necessarily make people more artistic, but it does seem to pop up among noted creative people; for example, novelist Vladimir Nabokov, physicist Richard Feynman and composer Franz Liszt. Ramachandran's theory is that, genetically, synesthesia has persisted throughout the centuries in humans because of its association with creativity.

Besides seeing colors where they wouldn't be otherwise, other reported effects of synesthesia are even more mysterious: For example, some associate numbers with "male" and "female."

Many parents of children with autism e-mail Ramachandran and Brang asking them about a link between autism and synesthesia, because their children appear to have sensory abnormalities resembling synesthesia. The link has not been scientifically proven, but Brang believes there still could be some connection.

soundoff (1,306 Responses)
  1. Bettie2

    I taste color and associate names with colors. My question for others is this, when you look at a white light, such as a street lamp or head light, does the color spectrum separate in circles like drop of water in a pool creating a rainbow that repeats?

    November 17, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Synesthesia Research Project

    For any of you who have or feel you have experienced these sensory phenomena, take a look at the Synesthesia Research Project website from the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, and take their test:
    http://www.synaesthesia.uwaterloo.ca/home.htm. Over the years, they've contacted a few of the people I've recommended to do this, and it has helped them to know they are not alone and they are not nuts. And please realize that real synesthesia is not learned nor imitated, but is a constant, lifelong condition for individuals experiencing it.

    November 17, 2010 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angelique Coleman

      Our youngest son (10) has asperger's syndrome. In a discussion this evening he tells us that he can see colour with numbers? how weird is that? My husband said he heard somewhere about this. Is it maybe at all related to the asperger's and how should we handle this

      November 29, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  3. zoe

    I have synesthesia and so do most of the women in my family. When I was 15 I was falsely diagnosed with early onset skitzophrenia due to complaints about visions. I was convinced I could see peoples spirits and they were all different colors. I was put on a heavy dose of lithium which messed me up for YEARS before quitting cold turkey, ending up in a psycheward with withdrawls, running away, getting clean, and then YEARS later getting a therapist who diagnosed me properly. Now that I know what it is its a lot easier to deal with.

    November 17, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wallyackley@gmail.net

      Zoe,so sorry that you had to go through all that,many people are sensitive to the auras given off by others,Many NDE accounts tell of this ability.But because of their ignorance of these conditions many people don't understand .

      March 6, 2019 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  4. Harvey

    My girlfriend claims to see auras around people. She describes it as light that changes depending on a person's health and/or mood. Until she talked to me she thought everyone saw them. Wondering if this might be a form of synesthesia.

    November 18, 2010 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • elandau

      Hi Harvey, yes some people with synesthesia report seeing "auras" of color around faces in particular.

      Elizabeth Landau

      November 18, 2010 at 08:18 | Report abuse |
  5. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    There is no such condition as synesthesia. Are those real doctors names that are explaining this condition they surmised at exists in a new age group of persons. The rest of you conversing and adding comments and recounting experiences under that supposed illness condition are explaining some other set of problems. When did you fabricate that name and notice it relates to synthetics and synthesis which means it is some other condition. Theresa Noelle Younan YMMA-III interpole galactica y-research management i-pic

    November 18, 2010 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karisa

      Just because you may not have it doesn't mean it's not real.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • Seán

      You ignorant idiot.

      August 25, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • Toughguy

      You're wrong on this one. I've had this all my life, and it's pretty neat to find out what it actually is.

      It hasn't had much of an effect on my life though

      April 15, 2012 at 04:37 | Report abuse |
    • Angelique Coleman

      I do not believe in the "new age" things, however when my 10 year old son who has never been exposed to a conversation of this, tells me he say colours in letters I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt that it is real for him. This is the first time I have heard of it, but can assure you since my son has aspergers syndrome they don not tend to lie about things.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
  6. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    also to synthesize as in music.

    November 18, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Teresa

    I have a very small bit of this, but one I rarely see mentioned. I see color with some smells. With some smells I see purple, but there are small differences in these smells that have particular shades and hues of purple. Some are dark purple, others are paler versions of the same purple. Another set of smells make me see different browns, and another other set makes me see greens.

    This is not to say that a when I see a color I smell a smell. It's the other way around. This smell is that shade of purple, this smell is that shade of brown, and this smell is that shade of green. I've seen brown with some smells all my life, but the smell that's purple didn't show up until the clear cassette tapes came along. They smell purple to me.

    November 18, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. illy

    I haven't read each comment, but I haven't seen anything about this that has to do with mixed sensations. I associate colors, smells and tastes with words, individual letters, numbers, groups of numbers and ordinary objects. Some objects have both smell and color associations. Most, in fact. Some of it, though, has to do with conditioning. For example, I automatically associate some known attributions to a few ordinary objects. If I think of the word "aluminum," I get the physical sensation, chills and all, of aluminum foil on a tooth filling (not pleasant). I can't say I accept "disorder," but that is because I don't think I am abnormal. Just a little different. To me, this way of experiencing the world makes everything a little richer. My husband can see an object and experience it visually as it exists. I can see the same object and experience it as it sits, but with the addition of an associated color category (which is a terrific memory aid), smell and taste. I have been asked most of my life how I can remember ridiculous details from my whole life. Names of people I knew when I was a little girl, topics in a classroom from high school, textures of materials I handled as a child, items on a menu form a childhood vacation, lyrics from songs I haven't heard in 20 years, and so on. I think the multi-dimentional associations I make with everything give me a greater capacity for recall. It's not something I discuss every day. Usually, I just go about my day with the understanding that "broom smells like yellow." It makes sense to me.

    November 18, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    I own the psychic science and investigation of numerology. it didn't exist until after my work – early work. there is no such work in the earlier years dictionary. theresa noelle younan

    November 18, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    i had done cross correspondence and other psychic work in a school interpretation writing project and they extorted it to take credit for it. they've done so much of this frauding and plagiarism surrounded by other crimes and plagiarism in other intellectual fields that it took me a long time to gather all the evidence, except they repeat offend en masse too. which proves they were guilty from the beginning of history. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii i-pic interpole galactica

    November 18, 2010 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    you stole school writings and related evidence of mine as well.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Caroline

    I've had synesthesia all my life, and in the research of synesthesia you HAVE to be careful with the wording. The best way is to get some actual input from synesthetes. For example, "certain numbers remind them of particular colors" is quite misleading: we SEE the actual letter or number in color. It isn't simply a "oh, that A reminds me of red." It IS red.
    Someone said before that synesthesia could be learned. I completely disagree: if this had been the case, then we would all have strong forms of synesthesia, and this certainly isn't true. Yes, you might think about the "color of the marshmallows" but that white would not become permanently associated with the number 5. Synesthetes do seem to have a surplus of connections: this is something you are born with. It's nature, not nurture, in any sense of the word.

    But what most offends me is the description of synesthesia as a "quirky, odd, crazy psychological phenomenon." Really? That's a nice way to be described. It's simply the way we perceive things. This makes it sound negative, strange, freaky, and I know that is something that synesthetes don't like to think of themselves as.

    It should also be taken into account that there aren't two different types of synesthesia. There are so, so many more than that. It's not just letters or numbers producing color; I see music in color. Some people taste food and automatically feel a texture. Any two senses can be combined, and this is definitely not made clear in the article.

    November 18, 2010 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Actually, I have synesthesia and I do not SEE the actual colors. If I look at the time on my alarm clock, for instance. 02:57: That 0 is gray, the 2 is red, the 5 is green and the 7 is purple. I do not see the colors, I only picture them in my head. And it messes me up if I force myself into thinking that that 7 is NOT purple. Yet, the display on my clock is green and I know that those actual numbers are green as well.

      January 12, 2013 at 00:45 | Report abuse |
  13. Liz

    Wow, what a concentration of us! For me, numbers, letters, colors and days of the week have a gender, personality and age – Red is a female who is older than yellow who is also a female but is a little rebellious, and red and orage are buddy-buddy... Yellow and blue get along – even though yellow is a little younger than blue, and blue is a very straight-laced guy – and green is a bit of an interloper. He's a peer of blue's but not as close with the other colors. Purple is a fabulous grandmother. Haha don't even get me started 🙂

    November 18, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CreatureGuy

      Tell me about 82, if you don't mind. It seems to be an important number in my life.

      December 3, 2013 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
  14. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    Veering a bit to another topic of investigative evidence. In the medical building which is 4 floors where my physician moved to there are about 10 respirology specialists. There may be more than 10 because my physicians office space partner is also a respirologist but her name isn't on the door. I didn't go in to the others to see if they also had a respirologist sharing their offices but like i stated there are about ? 10 that work out of there with marked offices – maybe there are less but one floor had 2 or 3 – i have to check again. it's not that big a building for that occupancy tenancy profile. remember also that edward jones investments is situated in the same building. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii i-pic interpole galactica y-research management

    November 18, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Joel

    I have one of the rarer forms of synesthesia, lexical –> gustatory synesthesia–the ability to taste words and names.


    I have no doubt that my synesthesia has given me the ability to have an excellent memory, an unusually high recall of names and a large vocabulary. I've always tasted names and words as far back as I can remember–and for what it's worth, my earliest memories begin around age 1-1/2. I recall the first time I mentioned it to my parents and brothers was during a rather long road trip when I was five. My stepmom was talking about her brother, Bobby; offhandedly, I remarked, "I like how 'Bobby' tastes." (To me, the name "Bobby" has the flavor and texture of a KitKat bar, for what it's worth). Of course, this raised everyone's eyebrows; naturally, my dad asked, "What do you mean, 'how "Bobby" tastes'?!" When I told them that the NAME "Bobby" tasted good, they all burst into gales of laughter and dismissed it as part and parcel of my "vivid imagination." (Yes, it's a rude awakening when you first realize not everyone can taste words and names. This tends to be the same awkward experience for most synesthetes, regardless of the type of synesthesia they have.)

    Half-mockingly, my family began to periodically "quizzed" me on names and words; soon, it occurred to them that I always described the flavor and texture of every word or name the same way every time, which proved that it wasn't just a lark. My dad, however, told me not to say anything about my little "trick" to anyone for fear of embarrassing myself.

    When I married 15 years ago, I told my wife about it. If she thought I was pulling her leg or was outright crazy, she didn't let on. Then, in 2006, we were watching "60 Minutes" one Sunday evening, and one of the segments of the show was about synesthesia. The segment included James Wannerton, a British gent who is one of the first, if not THE first lexical –> gustatory synesthetes ever studied at length. (James and I have since become friends.) When I heard James describe his "condition," I jumped around on the living room furniture like a mad ape, yelling, "THAT'S WHAT I HAVE! IT'S REAL! SEE?! I TOLD YA! THAT'S WHAT I HAVE!" It was indeed a relief to find out that my condition–an involuntary neurological/cognitive "anomaly"–had a name and had been known to the medical and scientific community as far back as 300 years ago. Synesthesia was largely forgotten from the late-19th century until the 1980s, when neurologist Richard Cytowic rekindled interest in its study.

    I don't see it as a "disorder," "disease," or anything like that because, frankly, it isn't. I feel quite blessed, in fact, to have it; it's almost like a "sixth sense" of sorts. It doesn't interfere with or adversely affect my day-to-day life, other than a few genetically-linked associated issues, such as substandard mathematical retention/ability and left/right confusion (the latter is particularly embarrassing, especially when I'm giving someone directions; I actually have to stop and think for a few seconds about which way is "left" and which way is "right").

    Actually, most everyone has a base synesthetic ability–check out the "bouba/kiki effect" for proof: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Booba-Kiki.svg

    November 18, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      I didn't know until a few years ago that there was a name for what I experienced, "synesthesia." I first remember seeing color associated with each number when I was 5 years old. During kindergarten, the teacher was giving us a verbal quiz for the name of the basic colors and I answered by saying the name of a color. For me 7 is green. She told me that I was confusing the names of the numbers with the names of colors, but I was not. I told her that the "7" was named seven and it's color was green. Also, seeing the word "seven" and hearing it being said, also made me see the color green as well. I associated some tastes with texture, but also words and smells as texture. Some sounds brought on a physical experience. My dad was into racing when I was young. I can remember telling my mom that I didn't like going to the racetrack. She asked why and I answered by explaining to her that the sound of the cars made me nauseous and my stomach hurt. I hated the sound. I said that the sound of the revving of engines tasted like pickled beets. I can remember mentioning to other kids in kindergarten if they saw colors with numbers and numbers with color and they didn't, so I never mentioned it again to anyone. It all started in 1965. I was an ace in Math in elementary. I had a hard time "showing my work" as they wanted because all the work was in my head. For an addition problem, I rounded, subtracted and added all in my head and got the answer quicker than the way we were being taught, which now seems a lot like the common core that is failing miserably in schools because the parents are having a hard time trying to help their kids with it. When I took a look at how they were arriving at the answer, it seemed (on paper) like a lot of extra calculations that would be unnecessary, but I recognized it as what I have always done in my head to get the answer. The difference in doing it in my head was that it was more instantaneous......it didn't seem like so many steps because it was so quick, but breaking it down....it was exactly common core, which I was never taught. The odd thing is that both my boys had the same mental math experience that I had and neither of them was taught common core either.

      February 12, 2018 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
  16. Becky

    Never really thought much about it before and I agree; it's not a disorder. I think it would be incredible to actually taste or hear something.

    BTW, a triangle is orange, square is green. I also always have thought salt as female and pepper as male.

    November 18, 2010 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Karisa

    I have synesthesia 😀 I feel so special.

    1= light blue, boy
    2= light pink, girl
    3= light green, boy
    4= blue, boy
    5= red, boy, F, Friday
    6= dark green, boy
    7= brown-orange, boy, Thursday
    8= brown, gender undetermined, Wednesday
    9= green, girl
    10= normally white, undetermined gender, October
    11= white, boy, November, also Thursday
    12= pink, girl, E
    I could go farther with numbers but I don't want to 😛

    A= Blue, gender undetermined
    B= Orange, boy
    C= Light green, boy
    D= Dark green, boy
    E= Sometimes brown, sometimes red, sometimes orange, boy, 12, Thursday, November
    F= Red, boy, 5, Friday
    G= Soldier green, boy, oak
    H= Red, girl, Thanksgiving
    I= Orange, white, or yellow, J, 137, also Thursday, boy
    J= Orange, boy
    K= Pink-red, girl
    L= Yellow, girl
    M= Purple, girl
    N= Red, girl
    O= White, boy, lynx
    P= Indigo, girl, Monday
    Q= Aqua, boy
    R= Purple, girl
    S= Pink, girl
    T= Brown, boy, 7, 8, Thursday, Thanksgiving, November, thatch
    U= White, girl
    V= Silver or white, boy
    W= Deep purple, undetermined gender (probably a girl), Wednesday
    X= Red, boy
    Y= Yellow, boy
    Z= Purple, girl, crazy

    Sunday= Yellow, boy, musical
    Monday= Lavender, girl, quiet
    Tuesday= Brown, boy, Fall, Thursday
    Wednesday= Purple, girl, 8, shiny
    Thursday= Brown, boy, 7, Fall
    Friday= Red, boy, 5, F, bouncy
    Saturday= Pink, girl, 2

    I could do months but I prefer not to.

    I see all of that. Me and my sister argue about 4, because I say it's blue and she demands that it's orange xD


    November 19, 2010 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • buggy793

      Your numbers and genders are all wrong! EXCEPT for 5. Even that is slightly wrong, though.
      0- Black and red
      1- Black and red
      2- This is an odd one- it's kind of blue, kind of... purple-red. It's very light.
      3- White
      4- Very light sky blue, girl, in love with 4
      5- Rose red then dark blue, boy, in love with 4
      6- Orange, girl, sister to 7 and 9
      7- forest green, sister to 6 and 9
      8- a disgusting yellow color. Pure evil. (I seriously hate this number)
      9- Greenish tan, responsible older brother
      10- orange
      11- light blue and black
      12- orange
      13- black and yellow- kind of reminds me of a bumble bee
      14- aqua
      15- firetruck red
      16- darker orange
      17- really dark green
      18- a gross blue-yellow color
      19- Dark brown
      20's- blue
      30's- yellow
      40's- Light blue-purple
      60's- orange
      70's- maroon-green
      80's- varies a whole lot
      90's- Very dark colors
      100's- pastel

      These go on for a while, but you get the idea. I love being synesthetic, too! 😀

      March 2, 2011 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
    • David

      0 – gray
      1 – black/light brown
      2 – red
      3 – yellow
      4 – orange
      5 – green
      6 – blue /dark blue
      7 – purple
      8 – pink
      9 – brown

      January 12, 2013 at 00:53 | Report abuse |
    • mandi

      0 white
      1 yellow
      2 light blue
      3 green
      4 red
      5 dark blue
      6 green (but darker than 3)
      7 orange
      8 purple
      9 black
      10 brown

      March 24, 2013 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  18. wherever

    Nancy, researchers have disproved that synesthesia is merely a learned phenomenon. Scans of synesthes' brains show connections that non-synesthetes do not have. While some people's synesthetic letters and numbers are based on childhood associations, the way that their brains make those connections is something different than the way a normal person's brain would.

    November 20, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Karisa

    o.o N is a boy and so is U. How did girl show up for either of those on my list?

    November 20, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Sergei

    Music Teaching Technology for beginners.
    Digital Music Grammar

    December 9, 2010 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ceeanna

    So just curious. those of you with synesthesia, who just found out that it has a name, how old are you? how long have you been living not knowing that there's a name for what you have? I'm so interested in synesthesia. I just learned about it this year in my psychology class and i find it so intriguing to learn about. I wish i could experience it too

    December 16, 2010 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karisa

      I was about 7 when I learned...and then I forgot xD I re-learned when I was 10. I'm 11 now.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
    • Colin

      I'm 16 and I've known for about 3 or 4 years now. I found out after reading a book called "1 is red, 2 is blue" and it was about a kid who's always seen numbers as colors meeting a girl who sees numbers in a map spread out around her. I have both types and related to it fully. I also see every letter as "looking" in a certain direction, in addition to months and some words. I see smell, sound, and some tastes and feelings as color too. (Ironically the word "feeling" is light green but no feeling is actually green, which is surprising because "envy" is green, and the expression always satisfied me.) I never even thought about the color I see – it's so innate, I never even knew of anything else. I can't imagine TASTING words, but some other people can – it's really bizarre to me, but that doesn't mean it's not true. After all, I know that mine is true! It's not even association, it's seeing the letters as their colors directly on the page. Regardless if I look at them or not, I still see the colors. It makes it very easy for skimming, as if I want to look for the word "yak" I'd simply have to look for a yellowish pink among the other colors. Synesthesia feels so natural to me and makes so many things so much simpler – I'd never want to not have it 🙂

      October 25, 2017 at 01:39 | Report abuse |
  22. Janet

    I just found out that it had a name a month ago. My 24 yr old was so happy that it had a name. She could understand time and calendars at a very early age. She has a terrific memory and has described some really unique ways that she sees days, months, and years.

    August 10, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. aurakid

    as far as i can remember i have always seen colours around people and always thought that i was seeing auras but i never thought that it had a name. my friend has something different when she meets a person she sees a colour and number around them have any idea if thats the same or does that sort of thing have a different

    January 16, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. CMD

    I have always "seen" numbers in color for as long as I can remember! But I only recently learned that this phenomenon has a name and that other people also see things in color! For me, 0 =green, 1 = yellow, 2 = red, 3 = green, 4 = purple, 5 = green, 6 = red, 7 = purple, 8 = purple, and 9 = yellow. It's weird since there are repeats in my colors, but these are just the colors I've always seen. So cool that other people think like this too!

    February 3, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Kerrie

    I have always had synesthia but didn't know that everyone didn't have it as well until I saw an ABC news magazine show about it and I just about fell out of my chair! I had asked my sister a long long long time ago if she also saw the days of the week on a screen in front of her face and she said "yes" (it runs in families) so I thought ok... must be normal!!
    I did online testing with the University of Texas and was confirmed a synesthete.
    I associate colours with numbers and letters, words, places, days of the week, months, years and decades. I visually see the days of the week and months and timeline sort of like a see-through screen that floats in front of me or around me or beside me and appears when I think of a month, day, year etc etc. I also see number lines and calculations of money in particular are quite easy for me as I visualize it, statistics and probablities are also insanely easy calculations for me to figure out. I associate colours with people I know, I don't believe these are auras, rather just my association of that colour with that person... babies are always a very pale twinkly yellow and change over time to pastel colours and then finally solid colours as they grow up and then their colours never change again, a very innocent, kind or harmless person can also be a very pale yellowish white... men are typically shades of brown or green. I feel a lot of things as either right or wrong, and tend to need to know my directions quite well... if someone mentions a place on earth, my mind automatically envisions the globe and takes me to that place so I understand where it is in relation to where I am. It just happens, can't control it. I also have strong empathy with humans and animals, or i suppose a "knowing" about people, I know what they feel, I know if they are lying to me, I know their true motivations, and can feel their emotions very strongly and carry it with me – this is hard to deal with. I also can do remote viewing very easily, usually extremely accurate within a minute or two of focussing. I find all of this is incredibly heightened when I eat a plant based menu...
    I get sensory overload and noticed I tend to need a light and "neutral" coloured enviornment with very little noise in order to relax.
    I think it is all extremely interesting but definitely feel like a freak sometimes when I mention it to people 🙂 so I don't much. Interesting and glad it is hitting mainstream sites like CNN... I hope we find more people with synesthia and can understand it's intricacies better over time!

    June 27, 2012 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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  28. Jessi

    This is so amazing! I thought I was just odd I that every letter, number, day of the week, month, year, name....everything has a color in my minds eye. I just thought it was how I categorized and arranged things in my mind to aid in memory recall. It's strongest with numbers, months, days of the week some letters. The most vibrant is 4. He is blue. Always has been. A bright blue, darker than the sky but with a glow. I don't actually see 4 in blue in the physical world, but when I think of 4 he is always the same. In fact to think of him as another color is difficult. Oddly, the further away the color is in the visual light spectrum from blue, the harder it is to imagine him that color. A green 4 is somewhat easy, but an orange 4 is near impossible. I am also obsessed with rainbows. Everything in my world are brilliant shades of brightness. i am also a logical and organized thinker, so I just thought that I associated cretins things with certain colors. I never thought that it was not normal, until I offhandedly mentioned it to the doctor I work for. He asked if I do this all the time, and my response was, "I don't know what you mean...you don't automatically picture things you are trying to decipher in your head?" He responded, "my speciality is not psychology or neurology, but I can tell you I don't do that. It's fascinating and I think you should look into it." We'll here I am, finding out that something I have always considered useful is not "normal" but, is rather special and that I am not alone in it. Does anyone else here "see" the days of the week in a linear block fashion, or the months of year as a U with corresponding segments as the months? Also when I hear a word I don't know the meaning of I see it spelled how I think it would be (with a color attached if course) and derive meaning of it off of that. I only notice I do this when I "spell" it wrong (like use an s instead of a c) and cannot figure out what it means, and the color seems "off" like it doesn't match the word. Once I notice the mistake and change it, it all falls together and the color changes to an "appropriate" color. With numbers its especially strong.
    0= black
    2= yellow
    7= yellow
    10= a dark.gray...more of a black with white white intermingled
    11= white
    12=pink etc...and when I mix numbers with these I get mixtures of colors. 26 for example is not orange, but more of a yellow 2 with a red 6 that are reaching out to each other and "bleeding" into each other, yet remaining distinctly different. What's more, my favorite color (if I am forced to pick one instead if answering, "all of them intermingling together") is purple, and I RARELY see purple in the number tinting. There is a few lavender colors with pink hues mixed in, but my favorite purple is never in there. I am beginning to wonder if its my favorite because I never get to see it! I am going to have to go take that test!

    February 23, 2013 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mrs. Master

    1 = Pale yellow/Off-white (male)
    2 = Pink (female)
    3 = Light blue (male)
    4 = Green (male)
    5 = Red (female)
    6 = Dark green (male)
    7 = Yellow (male)
    8 = Brown (male)
    9 = Black (male)
    10 = Purple (male)


    March 7, 2013 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Robyn Gray

    Do you know how funny it is to read how you all see the numbers and letters in color?! I'm trying to read what you've posted but it's like trying to teach my brain advanced Latin because it's different than the colors I see! LOL
    My questions is: If you hear music in color is it still considered Synesthesia?

    April 18, 2013 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rose

      Yes, Robyn. Hearing music in color is a form of synestheia.

      December 1, 2013 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
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  38. Silver Wolf 11

    For me, names have colors, and so do numbers, shapes, days of the week, letters, and months and any word. Often, the word's color is the color of the first letter, but not always. Also, often, the numbers like 5,15,50,500 etc. all have the same color, but not always. For instance, 5, 15, 500, 5000, 50 etc. are all bright red, but 1 is red, ten is blue, 11 is yellow, 12 is red,, 100 is orange, 1000 is dark blue, etc. I don't EVER remember NOT being this way. Days of the week have a gender, a color, a personality about them, and a look about them based on a shape.
    1-bright red
    4-dark blue
    5-bright red
    6-purple (medium shade)
    7-green, associated with the memory of st Patrick's day
    8-dark blue
    10-dark blue
    12-dark red
    It goes on.
    Monday-tan, looks like a bedpost, boy, quiet and unenthusiastic
    Tuesday-dark blue, square, boy, really set on working, determined, quieter than Wednesday
    Wednesday–square, orange, girl, really active, "get things done", more outspoken than Tuesday
    Thursday–square, purple, girl, shy and resigned
    Friday–orange, man, French fry shaped, very enthusiastic, daredevil
    Saturday–girl, darker red sparkly heart, happy and free
    Sunday–yellow, boy, shaped like a sun, grumpy and boring

    These days had personalities since I was tiny and they still have the same personalities now!!

    Words also have color, and when I'm talking to others, I often got frustrated at myself for stumbling on my words because I had the associated color in my mind, but I couldn't find the word for it. For example, if I was telling someone to turn left, I'd be thinking, "turn green," because the word left in my mind is green. But it takes me a minute to find the word I'm looking for sometimes when I talk to people. Thus some stuttering occurs.
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