What Would It Be Like If One Sense Triggered A Reaction From Another Sense?
by Kara and Amy
Synesthesia is a condition where one sense is connected to another sense. Synesthesia can involve any sense and synesthetes often disagree a lot on their perceptions. One form of synesthesia joins letters, shapes, numbers or names to colors, tastes, sounds or smells.
Sometimes certain things make you more likely to have synesthesia. Being a girl or being left handed, gives you more of a chance to have synesthesia, but you don’t have to be both to have synesthesia. It’s incredible that in the United States, 3 times more women have synesthesia than men. Synesthesia can even be inherited, but it doesn’t have to be.
A lot goes on in your brain when you have synesthesia. When you have synesthesia two pathways in your brain are crossed. When they are crossed neurons that are “supposed” to be contained within one system cross to another system. Also colored-hearing synesthetes have been shown to show activity in several parts of the visual cortex when they hear certain words.
People who have synesthesia have still accomplished in their fields, including some poets like Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. Composers like Franz Liszt, Oliver Messiaen and Amy Beach have also had synesthesia. Having vivid senses may have assisted them in the pursuit of their craft.
In conclusion, synesthesia is NOT a disease. It is a gift, a way of life for some people. All synesthetes are born with synesthesia. Ranging from 1 in 200 from 1 in 100,000, not a lot of people have this condition, but if any of this seems familiar to you, you may be one of the few lucky people to have it.