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A Chromatic Look Inside Synesthesia

Imagine hearing a doorbell ring and then seeing the color blue—or smelling the scent of popcorn every time the number three appeared. These are both examples of synesthesia, a type of neuro-phenomenon involving the mis-matching of sensory triggers and responses. Theories on its origins and causes range from post-traumatic responses, effects of prior drug use, parental genetics, memory enhancement and hyper connectivity in the brain. Much is yet to be discovered when it comes to synesthesia due to the rarity in which it occurs, generally found in about 0.5 to 1 percent of the population.

Some people with the condition have described it as a means to boost their creativity and have expressed the ability to experience the world in a different way. For those without synesthesia, it can be hard to imagine what it would be like to have one sense called upon, but with another sense answering. Check out these videos to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to have synesthesia.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Grapheme-to-color synesthesia causes someone to attribute colors to different digits. 00:03

  2. Listen to a person with synesthesia describe how she visualizes numbers: 01:49

  3. Different synesthetes associate different colors with numbers. 03:10

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