Shocked? But we are serious! Some people are actually gifted with a special condition called Synesthesia which makes them different from around 99% of the rest of the world. Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense merges with one or more additional senses.
Synesthetes can see sounds, taste words or feel a sensation on their skin when they smell certain scents.
Some people with synesthesia hear, smell, taste or feel pain in color.
Others can taste shapes or perceive written letters and words in different colors. For example, they may see an "F" in red and a "P" in yellow when they read.
People may also taste spoken words, for example, on hearing the word 'table' they might taste apricots, whereas ‘book’ tastes like tomato soup and ‘telephone’ tastes like earwax.
Studies show that only one out of two thousand people are synesthetes, and it is more common among females. In fact, there’s a 6:1 ratio of female to male synesthetes. The condition is believed to be genetic, occurring more commonly for left-handed individuals. It is common for a synesthete to pursue a career that demands creativity – the arts, for example.
Causes of Synesthesia
Around 100 different types of synesthesia have been documented, and the condition affects nearly four percent of the general population. Synesthesia is thought to be an inherited trait affecting areas of the brain that communicate sensory information to one another.
There are probably many people who have the condition but do not realize what it is. Synesthesia runs strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained. Synesthesia is also sometimes reported by individuals under the influence of psychedelic drugs, after a stroke, during a temporal lobe epilepsy seizure, or as a result of blindness or deafness.
Advantages of being a Synesthete
In 2005, Daniel Tammet set the European record for Pi memorization by memorizing 22,514 digits in five hours. He attributed the feat to his ability to see numbers with color, texture and sound.
There's also evidence that synesthesia may enhance creativity. A 2004 study at the University of California had a group of students take the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The synesthetes who took the test scored more than twice as high in every category.
Disadvantages of being a Synesthete
Synesthetes say their condition can be uncomfortable at times. For example, seeing words printed in the wrong color can be strange, or certain names may taste bad to a synesthete. Others report suffering sensory overloads or feelings embarrassed at a young age when they describe experiences they didn’t know were atypical.
So decide for yourself is it good or bad?
Title image: gizmodo