Synesthesia is the connection of two (separate) senses: for example a synesthete might observe, "The music is the wrong colour" or "That turkey smells like a middle C! Are you sure it's cooked?"

Here's the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

I wonder then if we're all synesthetes - because (all?) of us confuse taste and smell - which also happen to be our oldest senses on the evolutionary scale, IIRC.

This explains, for example, why cooked food (or any food) tastes differently when eaten outside, why having a congested nose makes food taste bad - and why farting at the mealtime is frowned on. (OK, the last one is a little tongue in cheek).

Anyone got any thoughts on this? Is anyone here a synesthete and could some sensory peculiarities explain why some people (claim to) see auras?

Tags: brain, smell, synesthesia, synesthete, synesthetes, taste

Views: 92

Replies to This Discussion

Covering quite a lot of ground there, Marc. 

My former wife (an artist) claimed that she felt colors as letters and numbers, but I never delved deeper into her claims.

I don't think we confuse taste and smell so much, just that we may be unaware that smell adds so much to the taste of food.  But we don't need smell to taste everything.

I don't know what kind of auras you are referring to, but migraine auras are certainly common.  I, personally, get optical auras - migraine auras without the headache.

I'll have to jump in here quickly Roman, just to say that while we certainly don't need scent to taste, the lack of a scent in our food makes a huge difference.

 

Anyone who doubts that only needs to hold their nose while eating something - even something with a comparatively mild scent will taste different. Coffee is a good test - notice how it tastes different outside...

Anyone who doubts that only needs to hold their nose while eating something

 

Or eat with a cold.

I heard a theory that Mozart suffered from a form of this condition that allowed him to see sound as a color.  The only evidence to this theory is that he would often use colors to describe sounds.

My daughter and I are both synesthetes. I did not realize I was until my Child Psych Prof in college asked the class - If any of you see music, please stand up. Well, not realizing that was different, I stood with confidence, to find I was among 4 people in a class of about 40. I did not realize I was not "normal". I actually do see people's aura, as does my daughter. When I had a catastrophic health event, my daughter told me my aura changed color.
And oddly, yes, I get migraines and see an odd "fog" before they start. Music is color, sounds are letters, I see smells, etc, etc. When I close my eyes I do not see darkness, but dancing colors, like a swirling mist, that I try to control to relax.
BUT, smell does not dictate my taste of food. Really. Tastebuds dictates my taste. I may as a norm has different mental responses to taste, but... With my health event, I lost my hair, my skin sloughed away as did my taste buds. I was miserable. Water tasted like rancid bread with my taste buds being messed up. I couldn't eat or drink hardly anything. Smell sadly did not help at all. A delicious plate of chicken Parmigiana tasted like glue, no matter how good it smelled. Whether my synethestia was involved, I am doubtful. Upon speaking to my Cardiac Head nurse, he said what was happening to me seemed common amongst his other patients. My tastebuds returned, thank goodness. I lost about 20 pounds before they did.
Now, a common connection I am sure you may have noticed, is that synesthetes seem most often to be artists of some kind. We see the world differently which allows us to express in a way that others seem to enjoy. My daughter is an amazing artist. I was a musician, artist, costume designer...My health event led to me having nerve damage and amputations. My life is not good now. Take away a synesthete's normal way of sensing and believe me, life is a MESS. I lost my outlets of expression. I am still trying to find a new normal. Petting my cat feels like a brick now. weird stuff.
Back to the smell thing. Have you heard of the experiments when you have an apple and an onion? You then take a person and you blindfold them, not letting them see the food. You give them an onion, but you tell them it's an apple and to bite it. Most believe and eat it thinking they taste an apple...I can still tell it is an onion from the way it feels.
I have another friend. She is an artist and published poet. She can not visualize a thought in pictures. She only sees in TEXT.
Hope some of my insights have given you more food for thought...

It has Lynn. I hope you'll find time to tell us more of your experiences.

Although I can't see smells - I think I do have greater connectivity than most - which is interesting

 

I'd be interested to know which areas are next to each other, therefore knowing what the possibilities are in terms of mixing senses.

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