Synesthesia: seeing sounds

It causes the brain to process data in several senses simultaneously. For example, people with synesthesia may hear sounds while seeing them as colourful swirls.

About 1 in 2,000 people experience synesthesia. The condition is more common in artists, writers and musicians. (about 20 to 25 percent of these professions have the condition.)

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What Is Synesthesia?

livescience.com

According to Psychology Today, over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported. The most common type is grapheme-colour synesthesia - when letters or numbers seem to be coloured on a page or visualised as coloured.

Other types include:

  • Smelling certain scents when hearing certain sounds.
  • Seeing music as colours.
  • Tasting words.
  • Feeling certain textures cause certain emotions.
  • Feeling that time has a physical characteristic.
  • Seeing a particular colour when feeling pain.

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  • Research by Simon Baron-Cohen suggests that synesthesia results from an overabundance of neural connections.
  • Peter Grossenbacher thinks it happens when single-sense areas of the brain get feedback from multisensory regions and not from a usual single-sense area.
  • Daphne Maurer proposed that everyone has these connections, but not everyone uses them.

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People with synesthesia often experience the following:

  • Involuntarily experience their perceptions
  • Have a perception that is the same each time.
  • Have a generic perception, such as seeing a shape in response to a specific smell.
  • Remember the secondary synesthetic perception better than the primary perception.
  • Have emotional reactions linked to their perceptions, such as a pleasurable feeling.

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