Colour-tactile (colour-touch) synesthesia

It is possible, but very uncommon, for some synesthetes to feel tactile sensations triggered by seeing different colours. For these to be considered synesthesia they would have to be involuntary and also basically consistent, i.e. the same colour would always evoke the same sensation, even if it doesn't happen every single time the subject perceives the colour. There would also have to be a correspondence between each particular colour and a specific sensation, different for each one (so red = sting, light blue = tickle, black = pins and needles, for example), or each colour would have to create a tactile perception in a particular part of the body (red = forehead, blue = feet, etc.). Such a type of synesthesia would probably only occur in people with a high “synesthetic disposition”, i.e. with numerous types and strong concurrents, and it would be likely to occur at times when they were specifically focusing on the colour in question, rather than being perceived at all times. As far as I know no studies have ever been conducted on this type of synesthesia.

Here are some descriptions by people who report having had this type of sensations at some time:

“As a kid, I had color-tactile synesthesia: I felt colors inside my mouth, not as flavors but as tactile experiences such as cold, hot, coarse, soft, bumpy, etc.”

(Source: CC Hart, a synesthetic artist and medical professional, interviewed in the online magazine Psychology Today. 2016.)

“Color > Touch? Happened just now. I started looking around myself, at every single object, and focus on that color. It instantly gives me a sensation on a specific part of my body. Examples: Light yellow: nose Dark blue: between chest and neck White: sides of the neck Red: right foot Black: around the mouth.”

(Source: This post on Reddit/Synesthesia. 2020.)

Here is an interesting case of a person for whom colour-tactile synesthesia can sometimes occur in response to colours not seen in everyday life but induced by sound, as they have both auditory-visual (timbre/voice-colour) and auditory-tactile synesthesia:

“I have Chromesthesia and I hear colours specifically with songs, a lot of the time it relates to voice and timbre.

Basically, when I hear these colours, I also feel them too. To be specific, white feels like a scraping at the back of my sternum, going up. Like if someone were to scrape a spoon up the back of my sternum. Green (including grey-greens) I mostly feel through my shoulders and my collarbone/neck and rarely my jaw. It’s like a tightening/throbbing. Browns feel like a prickle at the back of my skull, and not like the skin on my head literally my skull. These are just a few examples (…). I see the colours from songs in my head, but I also feel them in different parts of my body.”

“I don’t feel the sensation when I see colours just when I hear them. I guess it’s kind of like a process?? Like it starts with the music, and then I’ll feel the sensation, which then translates to the colour, and sometimes vice-versa.”

(Source: This post/comment on Reddit/Synesthesia. 2022.)

Do blindfolded mediums correctly guess colours "using their synesthesia"? 

This is a slightly different topic, but some people claim to have the ability to correctly determine the colour of objects when blindfolded, by touching or perhaps smelling the object in question, sometimes attributing it to their “synesthesia”. Without broaching the subject of the possible methods they might use to do this, it should be clarified that it has nothing to do with synesthesia, as in order for a synesthete to be aware of their concurrent – a sensation in part of their body, in the case of colour-tactile synesthesia, or a sensation of taste, smell or sound for other types, all of them rare although they do exist – they have to actually perceive the colour, i.e. see it, before feeling the concurrent.

Go to the page on colour-to-smell synesthesia

Go to the page on colour-to-taste synesthesia

Go to the page on colour-to-sound synesthesia

Go to the page on tactile-visual synesthesia (seeing colour or images in response to tactile sensations)

This page last updated: 9 June 2024


  1. If I drag my fingers over a surface made of the same material but different colors, I can tell the difference between colors. Colors that absorb more light feel fuller and lighter than colors that don't absorb as much light. Is that synesthesia?

    1. Hi! That's interesting. I presume that what you're referring to is that you touch the coloured surfaces without looking at them and say that some surfaces must be a lighter colour because they feel fuller and lighter to the touch, is that so? If that's what you say, that isn't connected with synesthesia, because synesthesia would only be if you perceive the colour (i.e. see it or think of it) and that perception would in turn give you a secondary perception that could be for example a smell, a tactile sensation, etc.