Imagine you had a cross-wiring in your brain that caused information to leak from your sense of sounds into your sense of taste. This could mean that each time you hear C sharp you taste a sprout. A similar effect might happen across other senses. Words or numbers could have colours, shapes might have tastes or sounds might have associated smells.
There is a small chance you do not have to imagine this strange experience as synaesthetes number one in 2,000 people, with women outnumbering men six to one. On a psychology course when this phenomenon is described, it is often a revelatory experience for one or two people. Suddenly a person discovers they are not alone in their unusual experience of the world.
Synaesthetes are usually normal in every way and in fact their unusual brain wiring can have some added benefits. Some find that their mathematical or musical abilities are enhanced – check out this story from Wired.
→ From Wired
Published: 9 March 2005