synesthesia

Have you heard of it?  Do you know what it is?

Synesthesia is basically a neurological phenomenon where a person’s senses are mixed.  For example, they may look at black and white letters but see them in color, like refrigerator magnets.  They may hear music and see colors– or even hear music and experience taste!

Wikipedia says, “In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise). Yet another recently identified type, visual motion → sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported, but only a fraction have been evaluated by scientific research.

Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever heard of?  My friend Elyse said having synesthesia would be incredible for a writer or artist– just think of all the metaphor that would open up to you.  You could perhaps hear color or taste music or some other wild and fantastic combination.

Thoughts on this?  Have any of your experienced anything like synesthesia?