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Synaesthesia anyone?

The Impossible Girl

Well-Known Member
Anyone have any form of synaesthesia? I recently discovered I have Lexical-gustatory synaesthesia, which is one of the rarer forms of synaesthesia, in which spoken or written words evoke vivid sensations of taste. Which basically means whenever I hear, read, or articulate words (inner speech), I experience an immediate and involuntary taste sensation on my tongue. Also I experience it to a very high degree when viewing pictures/photographs or watching television.
Until I discovered LGS, I though everyone smelled words and pictures (who need scratch and sniff stickers eh??). I thought everyone could smell a city they have never been too or atmosphere and objects they have never tasted/encountered. Odd, but the I have always experienced it this way; The landscape sets the course for my olfactory experience. Besides my inept view of synaesthesia was somebody experiencing music visually, I would never have put to and two together if it wasn't for my inquiring mind. I never questioned it up until recently, when I began to question the stark difference in my experience, thoughts and senses about the world to everyone else's.

So, of course, I did a little research. Okay a lot! But there really isn't much out there about LGS, mostly a lot about the auditory/visual (musical version) of synaesthesia. Apparently the Neural basis behind Lexical-gustatory synesthesia may be due to increased connectivity between adject regions of the insula in the depths of the lateral sulcus involved in taste processing, that lie adjacent to temporal lobe regions involved in auditory processing (Ward, Simner & Auyeung 2005). I know their is a higher degree of the synaesthetic population who are able to see music and am just wondering if anybody else here has any form of Synaesthesia? Any unrelated auditory, visual or tactile sensations accompanying certain stimuli?
Numbers and letters have colours. Vowel-sounds make colours dance in my head, so that for instance "creativity" is a very colourful word.

I don't have a sense of smell, but I often imagine scents for said vowels anyway.
Letters and numbers have genders and personalities to me, and they and sounds also have colors. I remember consciously thinking, as a kid, that the numbers 1 through 10 seemed to be a family of 8 kids with hot pink 9 as the mom and black-and-white 10 as the dad.
I tend to see music in colors though I don't pay attention to it a lot, it just seems to be there. Some songs or albums are different colors to me. I also visualize the way songs go in a chart-like structure, kind of flow-y and ups and downs.
People's voices are sometimes colored. This helps me figure out how they feel.

The digits 0 through 9 are colored. Last summer I colored a grid depicting the first 100 digits of Pi. That was fun.
This is all very cool. I thought I was nuts, but it seems I am not alone. Apart from smelling things I also have a structured number in my head. They are not consistent as I find them too easy to manipulate mentally. I count a lot to fall asleep and the numbers I see in my head can be manipulated into various activities. Sounds crazy I know, but I make them jump like counting sheep. Or ring them up on a sort of cash registrar. Even run them off a cliff. I also have an addition of tastes/smells with the lower end of the numerical scale. So number 1 is yellow and tastes like buttered popcorn, 2 is like orange pastel lollies, but twelve is like fake watermelon flavouring (like nerds flavour). This is a reoccurring theme with me. Most numbers smell more like food additives to me, like banana lollies and food colouring. I also have some really strange ones for ordinary words. Food words, generally smell like they are. Cinnamon, is cinnamon. But a word like love, which rightly should imbue pleasantries and delight but to me (the word) tastes like a cheap gritty chocolate love heart, wrapped in red foil (you know the kind) and liberally smothered in lubricant. Yep. Lube. Just disgusting! Don't get me wrong. It's not the feeling of love, it is the word that is gross.
I also have noticed Aspergers is always eggplant/Aubergine. The colour of it, the taste of it. Gee, glad I enjoy eggplant. Most people would go straight to asparagus, but for me it is Aubergine. Green, purple, white and tasty Aspergers :) i still don't understand why I can taste countries I have never been too. The taste of the air, the tangible atmosphere. It makes for quite interesting (if not disturbing) television viewing. I try to tune out to it because it becomes overwhelming at times.
Oh and outerspace tastes like a battery or something. Electric buzzing. Pop rocks on a battery. That is something! hahaha
I tend to put a lot of emphasis on smells and tastes, which may be related to why a lot of things cross over into that sense. Not as an example of synesthesia, but as an example of just how much I tend to use smells, I just happened to remember a few years ago I was in a resale shop, and I smelled an old original Nintendo adapter in a huge box of random electronics. I dug through it all (I needed one), and sure enough, there it was (they smell different from other electronic devices, like burned or something).

My sense of emotions seems to be interpreted as smells, with a sense of atmosphere pressure. When someone else is angry they will smell hot, and the air around them feels thin. It is almost like ozone. When I am angry, it seems like I can smell / taste blood, or muddy burning flesh. When people are sad I will smell that weird "sick" smell like you get from someone who has been ill for a few days. Jealousy / envy seems to invoke a strange coppery flavor whether from me or anyone. People who lie smell and feel of cold, wet mucous, and I won't let them touch me (even less than I let other people touch me... which is almost never).

Some words will give me a bad smell, or a taste in my mouth for some reason. Mostly words with b's and p's in them.

Pictures will give me smells easily, too. Not necessarily the smell associated with the object in the picture either. For instance, every time I see a person with a cleft palate I smell vaguely musty magazines. I think this is because I read an article about them in a National Geographic about twelve years ago.
Neat Hedghog your approach is very insightful. I have wondered if it is just my brain making sense of the world. A complete picture. I understand what you mean about emotions interpreted as smells. Possibly their chemical/hormonal changes are being picked up by you and interpreted this way. Apparently people who have high blood sugar smell like lolly banana's lol I am sure I have smelled people who smell like this before. Anyway, it must be pretty frustrating for you but I bet you must be pretty good at telling when a person is not telling you the truth? Sounds like some kind of super power hee hee
I am better at it than I once thought, apparently. I used to discount things like that as just random paranoia or cognitive misfires, but over the last couple years I keep finding out that I was right about when people were lying to me; those times when the air got heavy and slimy were apparently something trying to clue me in. I trust in it a lot more now than I used to.
Sounds like you have a very purposeful form of synaesthesia :) I have begun focusing more on mine when I can, like when watching tv programs, especially cooking shows haha but I don't think I will ever begin to know when people are lying to me by their scent. Maybe it is chemical and hormonal changes you are picking up. I know they have used alert dogs for people who suffer sever seizures or diabetes, and then there are those pups who can sniff out cancer cells. They apparently pick up changes in the hormones produced by the body naturally in these states of change. I wonder if you are doing the same? I have heard to that people who are on the verge of a diabetic spike smell like banana lollies. Maybe being more aware of it, helps refine and redefine your experience of it.
The only time I ever noticed such a tendency in myself was when I was playing a game and rolled a die with colours on it. A colour would come up and I would shout out a number and then get very confused about how I was supposed to apply that number to the game. The friend I was playing with looked at me funny and asked if I had ever displayed synaesthesia before, which I hadn't (and haven't since). It was a very strange experience for me.
When one of my relatives was talking to her friend, she had him on speaker phone and I could hear that his voice was colored. Now I know that the shades of depression look pinkish beige. At least, his particular degree of depression. I have heard other people's voices be that color, too, and although the words didn't indicate any special mood, it turned out that their mood was depressed.

Generally people seem to associate the color blue with sadness, but that is not the color I see if a person talking to me is sad or depressed. Listening to a person talk on the phone is the easiest way to hear, because that way nothing visual gets in the way.

It takes a certain level of mood/feeling/or illness for me to see the color of a voice. I understand language, but people don't always say how they are feeling. I am keeping track of what color various emotions/feelings/or states of being are, when I figure them out. Just because I have heard a color does not mean that I automatically know what is going on.
The neuropsych testing noticed that I have some synesthesia. I find it difficult to talk about, because it's image-oriented. I haven't put it into words, because over the years I always thought it was something that happened to everybody.

Some of it seems perfectly natural, such as associating smells with the way places look in my memory files, the number 5 with the color and smell of paper money, and freshly baked bread and roasting coffee with a picture of a street in Paris.

Other parts are more distinctive, like a colorful design (which I perceive as one of my paintings) appearing in my mind's eye when listening to certain music, especially Gamelan. Listening to Bach gives me peaceful, wonderfully comforting feelings along with geometric designs. Lots more, it happens a lot.

I do not however see colors for people, except for one person who physically hurt me while I was trapped in a bathroom with bright orange towels, and I do associate that shade of orange with that person.

Guess I am one of the 4 or 5 out of 100. :)

Adding a positive note to the end here: that the smells of foods, trees, rain, lichen on boulders, and other things that I like make me very happy.
I'm in the 95-96/100. My oddity is that I have scrolling marquee in my head that spells everything out when I hear sounds.
I'm in the 95-96/100. My oddity is that I have scrolling marquee in my head that spells everything out when I hear sounds.

Between the ages of 10 - 21 that was in my head, too.
I supposed everybody had a 'magic typewriter' that way.
But they don't. I don't see the words that way as often, now.
I don't know why not. Maybe different...wires have connected.
For as long as I can remember, letters and numbers have had colors for me. The same goes with days of the week, months, and street names.
For as long as I can remember, letters and numbers have had colors for me. The same goes with days of the week, months, and street names.

Numbers or digits?
What about individual letters?
Aren't numbers and digits the same thing? Individual letters have colors.

A number is an amount; a digit is the numerical representation of the amount.
Difference Between Digit and Number

For me the individual digits have distinct colors.
For example 3 is Green, 4 Blue, 5 Red...
But the number 45 (forty-five) is not a combination of Blue + Red (which would be purple).
45 is just a Blue digit and a Red digit, in my head.

I am not saying that I don't grasp the concept of four tens and five ones equaling forty-five.
I am saying that, for me, the individual digits are colored.
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