Saturday, August 22, 2009

Newsletter #00061

August 22, 2009

It's been a while since my last newsletter I realize. My apologies on that. I've been really busy with band camp and other things. And, to be honest, I wasn't actually going to do a newsletter today but there was something I really wanted to write about so here's an impromptu one for you all.

What I wanted to talk about today is a condition that I, and many others in the world have (approximately 1 in every 23 people, or so scientists think). It is called Synesthesia and there are many different forms of it. According to Wikipedia, Synesthesia is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.

Basically what this means in layman's terms is that seeing or thinking or hearing a certain thing can lead to another, involuntary reaction involving a different sensory reaction. For example, one type of synesthesia that occurs in some people is the type where letters, numbers, months of the year, days of the week, etc. are associated with a specific color. For synesthetes with this type of synesthesia, these color associations are involuntary and consistent.

There are many different types of synesthesia, such as people who have reported seeing color when they hear certain sounds, or tasting a specific taste when they hear a certain word.

As far as I can tell from my research into synesthesia I have two types- Ordinal Linguistic Personification and Spatial Sequence (or Number Form) Synesthesia.

Ordinal Linguistic Personification is a type of synethesia where the synesthete associates letters, numbers and other things like months of the year and days of the week with a specific gender and usually personality. I have been doing this ever since I was a little kid, and until I read about this type of synesthesia online I didn't even realize that other people didn't always do this. For example, this is what I think of gender wise when I think of the alphabet or the numbers 0-9

Also most numbers and letters have certain personality traits. For example, Three is kind of a tomboy and sometimes in my head appears more as a guy than a girl. Five and Six are close friends. One is a rather studious, boring type of guy while Four is more fun loving and is kind of a jock. Seven is pretty much a jock too. Seven is also a teenage guy who is really smart. Eight is quiet and nice and pretty much a mothering type.

Those are just a few of the things that I have always associated with my numbers and letters in my head. It must sound crazy to someone without this type of synesthesia but to me its perfectly normal and I've been doing it all my life.

The other type of synesthesia I have that until recently didn't even know had an actual name is Spatial Sequence or Number Form Synesthesia. Basically, people with this see numbers in a specific mental map sort of thing. It can also happen with dates, months of the year and days of the week.

Its sort of hard to explain but for me I see years in a specific timeline. It always seems to hover in front of me and extends at a diagonal facing slightly towards me in either direction to my left and right. When I am thinking about a specific year I find myself mentally placing my body at that position on my timeline and looking forward or backwards into the other years. Now that I try and write out what it looks like it sounds really ridiculous and I realize I haven't done a good job describing it, but basically I always seem my months of the year, days of the week, years, and even letters and numbers in a certain physical position when I think of them and I have always automatically thought of them that way. And all of those things have different mental images if you will.

Its all a little confusing to try and describe to someone, especially if that person doesn't actually have that specific type of synesthesia. It makes me wish I had the type where I associated colors with my letters, if only because it is an easier type of synesthesia I think to describe to a person than Number Form Synesthesia.

Another interesting thing about synesthesia is that it's believed to be genetic and linked to the X-chromosome due to the fact that scientists have seen synesthesia passed from Mother to Daughter, Father to Daughter and Mother to Son but never from a Father to a Son.

Anyways, I thought this was a topic that would be interesting to share and to see if anybody who reads my newsletters has a form of synesthesia. (For more information on the different types of Synesthesia or on Synesthesia in general I'd suggest going to this page here

If anyone else has any form of this condition tell me in the comments because I'd be interested to know. Especially if any of you have the types I have and can relate to what I said above. I know that Tim Gamache has the color one and sees colors associated with letters and numbers but does anyone else?

No comments:

Post a Comment