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Q & A: Synesthesia (seeing or tasting sound)

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Most recent answer: 12/08/2011
Q:
I hear color and every time I hear a sound, I hear color(like Mozart)When I hear the Pitch C I see sky blue, When I hear C sharp I see black, for D it's green, for E flat it's Brown, for E it's Yellow, F is pink, F sharp is hot pink, G is white, A flat is Purple, A is Gray, B flat is Cream( or champagne) and B is Red. is there colors in sound? because Ultra sound waves have color, I see these colors every day. and I hear those same pitches when people talk and I can make harmony when people talk.( if when they talk, they don't switch pitches too much. when they speak like a robot, it's very easy to make harmony)
- M.J(I (age 15)
racine,Wisconsin,USA
A:
Dear M.J.,

What you have is a rare and interesting gift called "" which allows you to experience sound with more than one of your senses. The sensations you feel are caused by involuntary brain stimulation in multiple regions of the brain which aren't normally associated with sound. Many great musicians and artists had this gift, but many everyday people do as well. Embrace it!

Sincerely,
John

(published on 03/04/2011)

Follow-Up #1: synesthesia

Q:
Hi, I have synesthesia, and I am also doing a science project on the physics and optics of it. I don't quite understand how light can be perceived differently that way in your brain or eye. Any thoughts?
- Katherine (age 14)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
A:
We don't know much about it except that it is a function of how neurons are connected up in your brain, not of anything fundamental about the physical stimuli. It sounds like an amazingly interesting set of sensations. I hope you find it enjoyable. Perhaps it will stimulate you to consider becoming a neuroscientist. Meanwhile, if there's some sort of "Ask the Neuroscientist" site, it might be able to give you more information.

Mike W.


(published on 12/08/2011)

Follow-up on this answer.