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Do I have synesthesia?

Tell us about your case


If you experience something you think might be synesthesia but you’re not sure, tell us about it in the comments on this page. You can write anonymously if you prefer. I’ll reply as soon as I can.

Do I have synaesthesia?





94 comments:

  1. Hello. I was hoping you could tell me whether any of the things I mention below are synaesthesia.

    I moved to an English-speaking country when I was 4 years old, and had to learn English as a second language through immersion. I distinctly remember associating specific English words with images, such as "June" with a specific image of fish fingers being cooked or "weird" with a cartoon dog with black, fluffy fur. I can't remember whether these associations were consistent, and they didn't stick as I don't make these associations anymore, but I wanted to put this in there anyway.

    The next thing I think could be synaesthesia is that it is very easy for me to associate songs with colours, however I'm not sure about this as it's something I have to prompt myself to do. When I remember to make associations, however, I can say confidently that Splendora's "Shirt On" is an orange and yellow song, or that another song is a lilac song. Other times I'll initially say, for example, "it's a navy blue song", then immediately disagree with myself and decide that a dark, warm red fits the song much better, with no reason connected to the mood or the typical connotations of these colours, I just know if it doesn't fit. Is it possible that I just didn't notice I made associations between colour and music so easily until I learned about the existence of chromaesthesia? Does it still count as synaesthesia even though it has to be prompted?

    For what it's worth, I also make associations with songs to people I know, based on different factors.Sometimes it's because of the person's voice having some kind of connection to the sound of the instrument used, for example, an old teacher of mine was associated with a particular violin song, and I was just trying to explain the reason there and I couldn't, I don't know why they're related other than their voice has something to do with it. Most of the time I can't even tell if it's related to the voice or another characteristic of the person, it's just involuntary and frankly a bit annoying as it makes me cringe and tends to stop me from enjoying the song when it's someone I don't want to be thinking about.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for writing about your case!

      From what you say I would be inclined to think that you don’t have synaesthesia, or that these are not examples of it at least, but you could certainly “test” yourself if you wanted to check.

      The most interesting one is your song-to-colour associations. People with song-to-colour synaesthesia have a very strong conviction about what colour each song is, they usually have it with all or most songs, the idea of any other colour being associated with a particular song is “wrong” and unpleasant, and the colours are very consistent, they wouldn’t change. It is automatic, but while most would get their colour perception straight away, I’ve heard of others who it comes to gradually and not necessarily on the first listen of the song. I think it sounds like you don’t have it, but you could do this if you wanted to test it out: make a playlist of songs (the more the better). Make sure you use a system where you won’t be able to see the album art or other colour influences before, or as, you listen. Listen to all or part of each song and note down the colour it suggests. Then save that list of colour correspondences, don’t look at it again in a few weeks, or months, or however long it takes to be sure you’ll have forgotten what you wrote, and repeat the process, to see if your colours are consistent. If you have this type of synaesthesia you would have very high consistency, about 90% or over. You could even repeat the test several times if you're not sure.

      I wonder if in the case of Splendora’s “Shirt On” you were actually influenced by the album art, as I’ve noticed it’s predominantly yellow and orange. Does your lilac song have lilac coloured album art by any chance? The album colours can be a problem though, and can actually cause confusion to synaesthetes too, if they have milder associations!

      The word-image associations from your childhood (I love June being fish fingers by the way) would probably have stuck if they were synaesthesia, and there would have been a lot of them. The song-person associations are quite fascinating. They don’t really tie in with any type of synaesthesia though.

      Hope this is helpful!

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    2. Hi! I'm sort of new to websites like this- so I may be replying to an already said comment or making my own...idk so don't judge me please(":

      I am a minor and I have been having some sensations I've "figured out" recently. Some I think are synesthesia and others I'm not sure, so I'll just list them all.

      -Colors and numbers have color
      -Music has color (The more I listen and learn the words, the colors feel more intense. I can also replay songs perfectly, including the music in the background. I download audio files and if I listen to them enough I can also replay the song in the bad quality it usually is. But I'm pretty sure most people can do that.)
      -Smells have color
      -I start to listen to music, and after one or two songs I begin to press my fingers against things in an order, and I tense in un-tense my different muscles in my legs and arms. I CAN stop but it is still automatic.
      -I associate people with colors.
      -Some things have textures. (especially names and other words) Not tastes- textures. Fuzzy, smooth, sharp.
      -Names (sometimes words) have colors. (days of the week and months have colors)

      That's the ones I can think of. But I also have a question.
      Is it normal to be worried that everything is in my head, and that I'm just lying to myself, and that I see the world like everyone else? I feel that way sometimes.

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  2. I think I have olfactory-visual synesthesia, but I'm not sure. I have always sort of applied shape to smell instantaneously. But I only sometimes get color immediately and sometimes it comes after shape and sometimes it never comes at all. Like my friend's house is a green triangle and vanilla extract is red bubbles in a glass, but my hand soap is just colorless thin shapes leaning up against each other. As in the previous example, the visuals also range in complexity from simple geometric shapes to three dimensional objects, sometimes even with backgrounds. Also, I have severe anxiety, and when my anxiety gets bad, I don't experience the visuals clearly or even at all. I know this is a lot, but any guidance you can give is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hello, and thanks for telling me about your case!
      Yes, everything you say here fits in with olfactory-visual synesthesia. I can strongly identify with what you say about how you perceive the shapes and colours, as I have this type too. And yes, it tends to vary, with a stronger or weaker experience depending on a lot of factors like the strength or type of smell, how you’re feeling, how focused you are on what you’re smelling/seeing, hormonal issues, how your sense of smell is performing at that particular time, how relaxed you are... Anxiety is known to affect synesthesia too: many people report that it’s dulled or even disappears entirely when they're going through a time of anxiety (same thing with depression, and medications for this kind of thing too). It comes back afterwards though, when things get back to normal, as has always been the case for you from what you say. But I hope you’re enjoying your smell visuals now. For me they’re one of the best kinds of syn!

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    2. Thank you very much for your response! There's so little about olfactory-visual on the internet, your site has been super helpful. And yes, I am in a time where visuals are occurring! I smelled some peaches and cream oatmeal this morning- royal blue pyramids in an icy sea :)

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    3. Beautiful example, royal blue pyramids in an icy sea! So you're actually projecting these, seeing them physically in front of you? I'm a bit jealous actually, mine was only that strong at one time in my life (and that's how I found out what synesthesia was in fact), when I had hyperosmia, but the experience was awesome. Do you have hyperosmia or anything like that, that determines the strength of your reaction? Also, do you get any visuals (or tactile sensations) from taste, or only from smell? (I have both and it seems they often co-occur).

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  3. Hi, I don't see my synesthesia type listed on your site, which is not surprising because my case is unusual, though I have heard others say they have something similar on the synesthesia listserv.

    I am totally blind with limitted light perception which I'm usually not aware of on a daily basis. When I smoke marijuana, though, I start to be more aware of the light I can see, and it feels as if the light is tugging my body/eyes in different directions. I'm then able to take this inner sensory data (a mix of vestibular and proprioceptive input) and not only make predictions about where the light I'm seeing is coming from, but also about what I am seeing. I definitely have visual/tactile synesthesia which you do have listed, because it feels like I'm touching whatever I'm seeing, but I don't think the proprioceptive aspect is represented. I know the synesthesia is drug-induced, but you could easily argue that the drug is just inducing access to the light (the scientific literature confirms the effects of cannabinoids on the retina). Anyway, i thought it was important to draw attention to my case because I think it could possibly help other blind people, or people who have visual aphantasia. I believe that I'm using the vestibular and proprioceptive senses as a back door or compensatory way to access 3d physical and mental images, and that a wearable that provides vestibular stimulation might be more effective for some people than existing sensory substitution efforts like the BrainPort. Unfortunately, though I've spoken with some prominent scientists, this has largely been a futile twelve-year mission. I'm hoping to find both researchers who are interested and other people who could benefit.

    More information is on my researchgate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tasha-Raella-2

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    1. Hi Tasha! Thank you for getting in touch! First of all I think what you tell me about here is fascinating - both the enhanced light awareness aided by marijuana, interpreting the possible mechanisms, and your mission for future research - and I'm very interested in finding out more. The first thing I'm going to do is to read your papers on your Researchgate profile, I've started by looking at "What Blindness is" and this tells a story that I want to know more about. Then I’d like to comment it with you! As to a mention of something similar to what you experience on the Synesthesia Tree website, you’re right, I have nothing like that at the moment. With regard to the vestibular and proprioceptive senses, I don’t have anything on the vestibular sense and what I have about proprioception are just a few mentions. Mainly it is about it being a concurrent for synesthesia – not an inducer as in your case – and it is in the sections on Auditory-tactile synesthesia, the olfactory and gustatory types of synesthesia, and mirror kinetics. But these are about sound, tastes, smells and movement observed producing the sensation of bodily movement or bodily perceptions. For proprioception as an inducer, I only have something in the section on motion-to-sound synesthesia, where some people feel their own bodily movements and hear them in the form of sound. So, nothing related really. On my list of things I’d like to add to the site one day is something about drug-induced synesthesia. Synesthesia as it affects sight-impaired people is another very interesting subject, but anything I could write about either of those subjects would be much more general than what you are describing here, and I must say I have no actual expertise in any of these subjects, only willingness to learn! I’m going to read your papers and I’ll answer you again when I’ve read them. It’s great to meet you!

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    2. Hi, I'm seeing that this page has become a lot more active, so wanted to check back in (I posted the comment above about synesthetic experiences under marijuana). Reading comments on this site and other accounts has made me wonder whether there is a unifying mechanism underlying many synesthesias, which is using our bodies to simulate the depth of objects and the dynamics of sound and light waves. I've created something I call the multisensory grid, which is here on my Facebook: https://mbasic.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10102931363954941&id=1010215&refid=46&__xts__%5B0%5D=12.AbpxmDNjCOGK_h4AiwXtccYpD3rNF9-i2WA5QgcwEWVrANCOseKFa4f1tQK2ZoX5M4pTMr8LKI7ZDuf2be_fM-HV48bUhEh-6iMmLzzf0FAZoU6OVJTeny368kY-064a86zDjnxGbI3baQChmG7ExW8Y3f19kJ7sKKefCISRzcAbVAHUeM-RkTZRUGXKePYqOBrisfkHlUKcM1MUo5UiC194oTnHcOzNRsqAJ6bQ8p3YmHEXpT6tcRTE8vWWh-SdcG8jQvYJeVckF7o1Z1-7oo01E27H43U54HX4-_Yuksj9DbxGskNMR61sIIYR4_wsmV2z1_-hFaDZ8ZIATiCy3u2y_dgCcvNgnRGyne0RfCG3st6FBT-u6s9KohgM3MDwyTlHKHGxWDJpUyuUKDu7F__BzZBZXfDhgb6dxVfpeS2w6WN3TINoS82qsLiN8-wELM7ARDL8p5jXCoNtpRjjW5vhcNx9AZQfIkper4s4INTzSL1zlPIRTnT2l9CMvQQ10urftlrv2gZ4WuY7qiSnLFYvJl3atYHiWJPzUGiIkD6ACIHY0RtqjjXE1Alh3tOLP-xRuI4Vn-c7q9aYLHF6UnMuIm0QbSYCdSvkkchnrLMV1rMRh6vnZeRImmRIov_wYRAthlYWdux0_mVwPYaigxD55QYqbu2PnNVsvMc1LxzqlQ&__tn__=%2AW And also on the synesthesia reddit. I'm sharing here to see if others can realte to some aspects of it.

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  4. I'm pretty sure I have auditory-tactile synaesthesia although sometimes I can't really define a feeling that I get when a sound happens such as someone speaking, I can feel their voice and I know where the sensation is coming from but I can't explain how it feels. I don't usually get a feeling on my skin but inside my head like a vibration or a sort of slap or tap (with earbuds and headphones) and I get feelings outside of my body as well, is this typical for this type of synaesthesia?

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    1. Hi! I think what you say could correspond to auditory-tactile, yes, if you basically identify with the concept of it and how it manifests, bearing in mind that the actual physical sensations can vary quite a lot from person to person and are probably even unique in some cases. If you notice that you get the same sensation from the same type of sounds each time, then that would make it clearer that it’s synesthesia and not something else. Earbuds and headphones tend to increment the effect as the sound is clearer and nearer and distractions are shut out, so that makes sense. Feelings outside your body, that’s interesting! Is that like as if you had extra limbs or something? (some auditory-tactile synesthetes mention that) or do you mean the physical tactile sensation just floats near to your body without being part of you? That ties in with synesthesia in general, particularly taste-to-shape synesthesia for example, it’s tactile-but-just-outside-your-body, but it's certainly possible that someone could have exactly that kind of tactile feeling with sound.

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  5. I think I might have some form of synesthesia, but I am very new to this. Any time I am intimate with my partner,(and my previous partners) and especially during sex, I see moving colors, sometimes the colors have textures too. It is not consistent at all (meaning I have them every time, but the colors/textures/shapes are not consistent)and really doesn't have any bearing on the "quality" of sex, but it does change nearing and during climax. For instance, I often see a silky white with bursts of blue or green, or it may be a velvety red that swirls and changes shades. Near climax I will often see a sharp triangle break through, or maybe a fuzzy circle begin to grow until it covers my whole vision. I can "see" these even with my eyes open, but it is particularly clear when my eyes are closed. I didn't realize that this was a "thing" until I had a particularly satisfying evening and exclaimed that I "saw orange". My boyfriend was completely confused and asked me to elaborate, and when he still had no idea, I looked it up and found this site. I also see these color patterns when receiving a massage, or when anyone has prolonged contact with me, but not if I touch them (for instance, placing my hand on a shoulder).
    Is it normal to see this only during intimate moments (or similar)? The other few articles that I found seem to suggest that this is usually found in people who have another verifiable form of synesthesia.
    I'm so sorry that this may be TMI, but I'm very curious, and not sure who I could ask about it.

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    1. Hi, and thanks for writing! What you describe is a classic example of what’s known as “sexual synesthesia” and what I call “sexual (and romantic) synesthesia”, because it tends to also occur at loving, romantic moments with a stable partner as well as happening in a sexual context, and that seems to be your case too. The colours, patterns and images are exactly as you say, and from what I’ve found from studying many accounts of it, they are actually consistent in very few cases. So you certainly have this! The question is whether in general it should be considered synesthesia or another type of phenomenon. At the present time it is considered synesthesia, i.e. most of the major researchers classify it as such, but that might be because it’s a relatively recent discovery and very little research has been done on it so far. Normally in synesthesia the photisms perceived are abstract colours and/or shapes that appear consistently with the concept inducing them, always the same, and with this phenomenon both abstract and figurative images are seen and they tend not to be consistent, so it might not fulfil all the requisites to be considered synesthesia. Another clue of course is whether the people who have it have other types of synesthesia or not. A lot of synesthetes report having it… but no research has been done on whether it’s something that synesthetes have or whether it’s just as common in the general population. I think in future we’ll be able to answer these questions though, when more research is done into this fascinating subject, and I’m sure it will be! So until the contrary is proved… you can consider it a type of synesthesia 馃槉
      That’s interesting you get it too with massage and touch: there are other reports of that. If you haven’t already seen it, you can read about those on the page on [tactile-visual synesthesia](https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/tactile-visual-synesthesia.html) and see if you identify. This is certainly a very similar phenomenon to the sexual one you describe, and I would go as far to say that it’s probably experienced by the same people.
      As I say, there just isn’t enough research on it yet to say whether we should consider it synesthesia or another fascinating phenomenon in its own right… but for the moment I’d say “Welcome to the club!” and perhaps you could look at other types and see if you recognise yourself in any of the descriptions, beginning with [the most common types of synesthesia](https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/04/the-most-common-types-of-synesthesia.html): it often happens that people have types of synesthesia they are just not aware of.

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  6. i'm asking about this for a friend.

    ways they described it:
    "i can't describe people with like character traits and appearances so i link them to images"
    "i perceive everyone as an abstract thing and then the actual person"
    "i see people as concepts and ideas"
    "it's a lot easier to do this with people right in front of me or ones i have a fresh memory of"
    "generally speaking distant black shape is a placeholder until i know someone"
    "there is no meaning to these honestly
    it's just what my brain says"

    examples of people:
    "i see you as a square with rounded corners with like light browns and dark greens"
    "i see you as a shape of some kind, one with fuzzy edges and pastel tones" (later added the shape was a triangle)
    "circle, a fuzzy one with dark blues"
    "a rounded corner dark grey square"
    "harsh red fuzzy rectangle"
    "your shape is medium sized"
    "[Name]'s shape is very very small"

    they also mentioned 3 being yellow, but didn't exhibit many traits of common types of synesthesia

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    1. It sounds to me like your friend has a very special kind of mind and certainly has a type of synesthesia related to person-colour/shape or “aura” synesthesia. All the things they say tie in with a beautiful, slightly complex person-colour synesthesia where the shapes are just as important as the colours or even more so. The descriptions of the shapes are really typical of how synesthetes describe their perceptions in fact!

      On the page of the Tree on figurative images there is a brief description and some examples of cases where seeing other people produces images/concepts/ideas (this type has hardly been reported or studied so not much is known about it yet, but I’ve come across a few cases), or they could read the pages on person-colour, aura synesthesia and personality-colour if they were interested, as all those types have some aspects in common with what they experience. Here are the links:

      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/figurative-images-as-synesthetic.html#people
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/person-colour-synesthesia.html
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/aura-synesthesia-projective-personality.html
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/personality-colour-synesthesia.html

      It’s highly probable that they do have other types… but they might be weaker or they just haven’t focused much on them yet.

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  7. Hey! I've been looking into this for a bit and I think I may have associative synesthesia! Also to note: I'm a hugely creative mind and also a busy-brained individual so it may also be a combination of those things.
    For as long as I can remember I've always quietly associated tones and sounds in music with colours. Growing up in a musical household, I've always loved the idea of beautiful paintings of colours made from what I've imagined. The best way I can describe what I experience is like that in ratatouille, when Remy is eating the strawberries and cheese, and these colours, textures, shapes and patterns appear around him, but I see those in my mind's eye (not physically in my vision).
    I also imagine images, pictures that could be abstracted or could look like a photograph. I imagine what the song looks like as well, which is cool.
    Some examples of the kind of things I think/see: fender telecaster (clean sound) is an aqua/electric blue colour, tenor sax is deep blue with some hints of purple growing toward red, the guitar in Greenday's 'Time of Your Life' is shamrock green, and I've gotten all different colours from several vocalists.
    Since it's always been something that I've had in the back of my mind, that's where I wonder if it is actually just creativity, since it became so automatic that I didn't really make a point to notice it. Like, it's always been there, but it isn't necessarily something that revolutionises my views or anything - just something cool and private for myself.
    I'm part of a little band and I thought it would be cool to draw everyone's instruments in the colours I perceive them to be, which is also nice!

    So If it isn't synesthesia, I'm still able to make this strong correlation bewteen colour or other visuals and music.

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    1. Yes, definitely synesthesia! That’s a really nice description. I think you should paint what you see... it would look really cool, your band members would appreciate it and I think you will find it very satisfying to actually see it on paper! From what you say about the different instruments you seem to have timbre-colour synesthesia, and also voice-colour… or do you only get colours when people sing, not when they talk? Many synesthetes do actually doubt that what they have is synesthesia because it just seems so logical to them or like a habit and something obvious, but what you say is definitely a chromesthesia thing and not just learned associations, as in the latter case you would have to learn and remember them while synesthesia is an automatic perception and not a memory thing. What you say about “it’s always been there” is certainly the impression that all synesthetes tend to have. I think you should focus on it as much as you can, as that will strengthen it, and enjoy all those beautiful colours that form part of your musical experience. Ah, and you've probably noticed that synesthetes do tend to be creative people!

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  8. Hi there. I was wondering if this was synesthesia, I've been wondering for years. I have some experiences that other people have told me are strange, so I've put them below! I feel like I have too many different expereinces for all of them to be synesthesia, I thought people could only have one.

    To begin I'll say I used to play violin. When I did, I slowly began associating certain sounds to certain colors. I would even see the notes on the paper in my minds eye as being certain colors as well, but they weren't the same as the ones I was hearing, but rather the same as the name of the note. so C was yellow, D was blue, and so on.

    When I would do math, the numbers all had colors but they also were in a beautiful space. I noticed when I added numbers or did multiplication very quickly, the colors would all smear together. I'll try to explain it with my favorite multiplication: 6x8=48. By itself, 6 is a very orangey type of color. 8 is more purple. 4 is (greenish)blue. the equal sign is green and the x is just a darker tone. But when I do it all together and read it quickly, it's like they all smear together and go from these bright colors to a more brown-tone. It's wonderful, I used to entertain myself when I was younger by reading this equation quickly. I'd do the same with 3x3=9. There are some numbers I hate, like 5, which is thick and gross and has no color, it's some kind of thick slimey thing.

    When I listen to music, I see color clearly with classical music almost always. I don't see this with other types of music very often. Shapes, colors, all foggy.

    When I exercise, I have this nifty little feature where I can taste the pain in my legs and see the pain in my muscles as a color. This is a good thing because then I know when I should stop due to oncoming injury or because of exhaustion.

    I have been told recently that people don't feel music on their arms. I feel music on my arms as if it's pressure by spheres, and i'll see shapes going in and out of my arms.

    I also understand my emotions and who I am as just an abstract color/form.

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    1. Hi Green Eyes and thank you for writing and telling us about your experiences. All of those are perfectly consistent with synesthesia! And it’s actually much more common for synesthetes to have several types rather than one, so that fits in too.

      What you say about your violin-playing experience sounds like two types: the first would be auditory-visual (tone-colour I think, as it would be each specific note that has its own colour I presume). Then when you are seeing the written notes in your mind’s eye as having a colour that’s more likely to be grapheme-colour. You might just get it in a musical context though, when reading music and not other kinds of texts – I think that’s quite possible.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/auditory-visual-synesthesia.html
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/tone-colour-musical-note-colour.html
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/grapheme-colour-synesthesia.html

      Your math experience, wow that sounds fantastic those colour interactions. That would be considered number-colour, which is another type of grapheme-colour, and you seem to have quite a strong version of it. Sometimes the colours also have texture, movement or seem to occupy a particular physical space.

      The classical music one is chromesthesia, which you can also call auditory-visual in general (sound-colour and sound-shape). It’s interesting you only tend to get it with classical music. I don’t know which aspect of the music is producing it in your case: it isn’t just the notes as it probably is when you’re actually playing the violin, because if it was it would happen to you with all musical genres. So maybe it’s the timbre of the types of instruments used to play classical, or perhaps – and more likely in fact – you have made a connection that classical music is coloured because it has a special significance to you, while other types of music don’t. Perhaps you just listen to classical music with a different kind of focus from the one you use with other types of music, which might be more like “background music” to you while classical is full of significance and interest. You might find it interesting to think about it and perhaps work out why!
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/auditory-visual-synesthesia.html
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/chromesthesia.html

      The pain one is pain-colour, that’s fantastic that you can actually use it to help you organise your exercise plan and avoid injury. I’ve mentioned something about people who have this ability on the page on pain-colour. Could I include your example on that page too?
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/pain-colour-and-pain-shape-synesthesia.html

      Feeling music as a physical sensation in a specific part of your body (your arms in your case, but it varies a lot between synesthetes!) and particularly if it has a colour or shape perception attached, is auditory-tactile. Your spheres make it quite a classic case, very interesting! I have something similar and I get for example silvery blobs travelling around my fingers with a certain type of music.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/auditory-tactile-synesthesia.html

      Then the last one is very interesting, this is a type of synesthesia that people with a high “synesthetic disposition” and numerous types sometimes have, these people are indeed special! It seems to be unique to each synesthete, but you might find a description of something similar to what you experience on this page on “Concept-shape synesthesia. Thought processes-shapes or colour”.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/concept-shape-synesthesia.html

      Discovering you are a synesthete can often be an important, fascinating and clarifying experience, especially in cases like yours, so if you want to, reply and let me know what you think!

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  9. Hi! I think I have synesthesia, but I'm still not sure. I've been experiencing this for a long time. I can feel the shapes whenever I listen to music or hear some random sounds around me. For examples, whenever I hear thunders, I "feel" that they have abstract shapes and some of them I can clearly feel that they only just dots. And, I really love when I listening to music. I can clearly feel the shapes from it. They appear as beautiful shapes.
    The weird thing is I don't see any colors from it. But it's still automatically appear in my mind. Is it a synesthesia or not? I'm very curious about it. Thank you!

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    1. Hello, and thanks for writing! Yes, what you describe is definitely auditory-visual synesthesia: shapes from sounds, shapes from music, this being a long-standing experience in your life and also the emotional reaction: you perceive them as being “beautiful” and that’s very typical of synesthesia!

      Although it's infinitely more common to get a colour experience from auditory-visual synesthesia, some synesthetes get no colour at all, and for others the colours are very vague, indefinable or even don’t always seem to be there.

      I’m going to include a specific page in the Tree on auditory-visual syn. without colour. In fact it's at the top of my list to be added soon, as I know some people have been looking for more information on it and in the Synesthesia Finder only the type with colour is mentioned so they get stuck.

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  10. Hello!

    I've read over your page concerning *-image synesthesia as well as your snippet on emotion-image synesthesia, and although I'm very confident I have hyperphantasia (the music-video thing is exactly where I fall into in terms of my visualization capabilities), I'm on the fence on whether or not I have some kind of emotion-image synesthesia running under the hood. I feel emotions or emotional sensations fairly deeply (almost too deeply at times), and I'm always generating analogous imagery in my mind to help represent those feelings to myself. I don't think that the imagery is consistent, however, and its not 100% automatic (it takes a few seconds for the analogous imagery to pop up). The one thing that pushes me to think I am some kind of sensation-image or image-sensation is that when I manipulate this imagery in my head, it can massively impact my emotional/somatic state of mind.

    It took time for this to be possible, of course, and I wasn't as sensitive to the mental imagery manipulation when I was younger as I am now, so I can't say I was born with this inherently. Extensive practice doing this has sort of lead me to where I am now. I don't follow any kind of substantial spiritual following or group that advocates or practices this, it's kind of a weird process I developed on my own, and I'm just now beginning to research what this whole process actually is.

    Is this, potentially, just some kind of mind-over-matter thing I accidentally developed as a byproduct of having hyperphantasia? I can really ramp up the intensity of the imagery (which can also include sounds, music, etc.), and since most of the time because I can actively choose and force these visuals in my head, and allow myself to be emotionally flexible to them, that perhaps it's just my emotional sensitivity reacting to the hyperphantasiac imagery and not to read to much into it.

    Still, the fact my whole state of mind can twist around so easily by my forcing transformations on my own mental videos, sometimes "musical", is bizarre and perplexing to me. Someone pointed out to me I was experimenting with/experiencing a sort of "spiritual alchemy" inside my head, and I totally agree. I feel agitated, the imagery is that of sandpaper gritting itself against glass. To remedy this, I add a visual transformation to neutralize the image, like dipping the sandpaper wrapped glass in acid to dissolve the sandpaper with sped up time, but keep the glass intact and scratch free. This mental alchemy causes my state of mind to feel crisper and clear, albeit also a bit bubbly and fizzy. I have to sometimes maintain the transformation by looping it to keep myself balanced out, which requires me to focus on the transformation for some periods of time, until the initial feeling subsides (or I just give up because the initial feeling is too strong for me to reasonably fight against this). I can't rid myself of headaches or physical pain doing this, but I can with emotional pain or unwanted sensations.

    I ask because I want to actually advertise this about myself and to find others who have the same potential flavor of emotion sensitivity and hyperphantasia I have, but I don't want to misuse terminology or sound conceited by not having a clear picture about what it is I seem to be able to do and experience. Thank you for your time!

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    1. Wow, fascinating, that’s quite some capacity you have there!

      Synesthesia usually has a more abstract base, and generating images is sometimes considered syn but if there is no abstract base at all and only pictorial images, then it probably wouldn’t be. There is a lot of grey area though about what should and what shouldn't be considered syn, so it’s difficult to say.

      Mental manipulation of images would not be connected with synesthesia. That’s still an awesome capacity to have! It certainly seems to help you with unpleasant or overwhelming sensations and tackling emotions that are too strong. Unfortunately I have no idea what you might call this process. I don’t know if you’ve already tried asking there, but there is a subReddit about hyperphantasia which might be a good place to ask and perhaps find others who have similar strategies for or wilfully manipulate their hyperphantasia-created images for other reasons. And there might be people there know what this process is called or know some more about it.

      “I feel agitated, the imagery is that of sandpaper gritting itself against glass” – that does sound rather synesthesia-like. If the image is principally texture-related and you feel like you automatically get these associations for a range of emotions, and the same emotion always produces the same texture/colour/image, then it certainly might be. I’m not really 100% sure though. If you have no other types of synesthesia then it would be less likely. If you do have other types, then you yourself could probably say whether this felt like the same kind of process, or whether it felt like something very different.

      Have you read the page on concept-shape synesthesia? https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/concept-shape-synesthesia.html It’s about thought processes rather than emotions but perhaps you identify with some of it. For it to be considered synesthesia it does have to be involuntary or automatic, i.e. you don’t feel like you’re deciding on or creating the image willingly in any way, it just kind of “comes to you”. If that is the case for you then it would be more likely to be syn (even if it takes a few seconds to “appear”, as you mention, because in some people it’s very strong and totally immediate, in others it’s weaker and it’s just a kind of general feeling that can take a little while to form sometimes.)

      Well those are just a few ideas, sorry I can’t answer your question any better with regard to terminology but I think it’s worth you reaching out and trying to find more people with the same thing – I think you’ll probably find them.

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  11. I think I might have something like grapheme-shape synesthesia, but it doesn't quite match the definition on that page.

    When I see certain words, they take on the 'shape' of the meaning of the word. For example, the word 'smile' looks like it's smiling. It's not like the letters are curved up like lips or anything, but my brain has the same recognition that 'this (object) is performing a smile' as if I were to look at someone's face smiling.


    It's only words that are emotion-related.

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    1. Thanks for writing, that’s quite a difficult one actually! Here are some possibilities, you could read about these types and I wonder if you identify with any of them:

      It could be something similar to word-image (https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/figurative-images-as-synesthetic.html#words)

      It might not be synesthesia at all, basically because it’s triggered by the meaning of the word. To be synesthesia, the associations would be triggered by an aspect that was part of a series of sequence of concepts. One example would be its letters, so that would tie in with grapheme-shape, which you mentioned you read and didn’t identify with. But if as you say this always happens with emotion-related words, then perhaps the series or sequence of concepts inducing it are the series of different emotions that exist, each of which has a shape for you. These kind of shapes for a synesthete would usually be abstract geometrical shapes, rather arbitrary, different for each synesthete, and so if they are something culturally universal like for example happiness or smiling is represented by a line like the one you’d draw on a smiley face emoji, and if they are all similar to those, then that probably wouldn’t be synesthesia. Also I’d say that if you don’t have any other types of synesthesia, then this probably wouldn’t be it, but if you are already a synesthete with other types then it’s much more likely to be syn-related.

      There’s a page on emotion-colour/shape/image you could read. I don’t think it’s quite the same as your case really, but it includes many different descriptions of it, so there may be one you identify with.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/emotion-colour-and-emotion-shape.html

      You could also look at the page on lexical-motor synesthesia. This is an interesting phenomenon that isn’t very well-known but has been considered synesthesia and it has to do with consistently picturing, or feeling, or wanting to carry out, a type of movement when you hear certain words. Maybe you see something of your case in this.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/lexical-motor-synesthesia.html

      It would be interesting to know if you do identify with any of those!

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  12. Hello,

    I randomly developed synesthesia later in life (potentially) and I feel like a fraud. I was listening to music with my eyes closed. Something classical randomly came on and it was such a beautiful song it was actually a little moving. Then it began, I could see shapes moving and forming then reforming.

    I had always enjoyed closing my eyes and trying to separate the different instruments to get a feeling for each instrument and try to dissect why they're important to a song. However this had become much more of the norm as I was unable to play music personally due to hand injuries, and listening to music became more of a passion than playing.

    I was not high, which I feel is relevant. It just sort of happened. But a major reason I feel like a fraud is I had already know about synesthesia for a long time. I feel like I've just learned to have synesthesia but it's not true synesthesia. I also feel like now I'm consciously looking for it, but can only really see it if I lull myself into the song with my eyes closed and truly get a feeling from the song.

    I just don't know where I stand. I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm afraid to tell people because I don't want to pretend to be something I'm not. But I also want to tell people because it takes music to another level.

    Thanks.

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    1. Very interesting what you say! I’m sorry to hear you had to stop playing music because of your injury, but it’s great that this wonderful experience can make up for it in some way.
      From your description (=it only started happening one day later in life, and particularly your description of “shapes moving and forming then reforming”), although I’m not sure, what I think it could be is hypnagogic imagery rather than synesthesia. It certainly isn’t impossible to only start to see music later on in life as a synesthete, but it’s very uncommon: it can happen to someone who’s musical synesthesia is weak or suppressed, but normally you would have had that kind of experiences all your life, even if only from time to time, or you would at least have “known” automatically what shape or colour the different sounds were, perhaps thinking it was just too obvious to mention, even if you weren’t consciously seeing anything. That might of course be the case, so to decide which it might be, you could ask yourself these questions:

      Do the shapes look like Kl眉ver’s form constants? Or perhaps a bit like a fireworks display sometimes? (that would be hypnagogic imagery) Or do they look like simple and abstract shapes/colours? (synesthesia)
      Do the shapes or patterns repeat the same movement over and over again (forming/reforming is a perfect example), but don’t follow the timbre/notes/rhythm or any other aspect of the music? (hypnagogic) Or do they only form and move in response to a timbre/note/chord/key etc. of the music and disappear when that stops sounding? (synesthesia)
      Are the colours and the shapes random, not always corresponding to the same timbre, note, etc., so you might get for example yellows one day and purples another, circles one day and chequerboards another, whatever the music? (hypnagogic) Or are they totally linked to specific timbres, notes, etc.?
      Do you see the shapes physically? (hypnagogic) Or in your mind’s eye but not physically? (synesthesia) (it’s not impossible but very unlikely you would be a projector synesthete if you’ve never noticed this before).
      Do you see the shapes only with your eyes closed or in the dark? (hypnagogic) Or with your eyes either open or closed as long as you’re focusing on them, because you feel as if they’re coming from your mind rather than from your eyes? (synesthesia)
      If you’re seeing them with your eyes closed, do you see them near to your eyelids? (hypnagogic) Or in a space about a metre or so away from your eyes? (synesthesia)
      When this happens, are you always in a state of great relaxation, or perhaps tiredness or sleepiness (not just focus)? (hypnagogic) Or doesn’t that matter, as long as you’re focused? (synesthesia)

      Do get back to me if this helps make it clear to you, and tell me what you think you have. I myself have hypnagogic visions sometimes in addition to synesthetic visions when listening to music (it happens when some kinds of music put me into a deep state of relaxation very quickly) and both of them are awesome and beautiful to watch, so whichever one it is, I think it’s a privilege to have this, and definitely to be enjoyed!

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    2. This has definitely help. I had never heard of hypnagogic visions and it's great to finally put a name to it. I had always been musically inclined but never once do I recall the same visions until I was an adult.

      I still feel confused on some thing but I think it's just my case. For example I 100% do see things in my minds eye. It's akin to a daydream. Sometimes it feels like my vision get's taken over for a second during the day.

      The shapes/colors also 100% follow the music and are never repetitive well I am seeing them, however, I can not say if I see the same shapes over and over for the same song. I keep intending to keep a journal but never do. I also try and forget what I see so I don't trick myself into seeing the same thing twice which makes it harder. But I do get the feeling they are random because I've seen so many different shapes it feels like there should be more consistency. On the other hand I listen to such a variety and that may be to blame.

      I think those are synesthesia like, according to your description, but I think my defining factors are my age, and it being much more powerful in a state of deep relaxation. I don't have to be relaxed, but the colors really come out when I am. I also feel like in my minds eye I see them fairly close. Maybe not right up against my nose, but definitely not far away.

      I also feel like the "day dreams" are just that. Day dreams. I think I get bored at work. So just because it happens during the day it's not a synesthesia symptom in my case.

      I also think the randomness of the shapes and colors, rather than repeating patterns, is due to me being a creative person in general, or confirmation bias towards what synesthesia is like. Having read and trying to understand synesthesia has allowed me to replicate it.

      But big thanks. I think it would be awesome to have synesthesia but I am glad to finally say I don't and having the words (hypnagogic visions) to explain what I do have.

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    3. So interesting, and I'm pleased to be able to help in understanding it, even if not entirely! Some of the things you say in this last comment do seem to fit in better with synesthesia, so perhaps it'll take some time or some reading or observation/reflection for you to finally be sure. Or even find someone with the same case as yours, as some cases are pretty unique but there is someone out there who has the same. Something similar happened to me, as I only really starting “seeing music” when I realised I had other types of synesthesia, before then it had just been a matter of logic but I can’t say I was consciously aware of it. I also had the synesthetic experiences caused by music mixed in with hyperphantasia, auditory-tactile syn and even lucid dreaming, and at the time I didn’t know which were synesthesia and which weren’t, but I’m glad I managed to focus on all of it at the same time and have such incredible experiences. They’re a bit tamer now, or more abstract anyway, and I know I probably won’t get that stage back again, but it was something fabulous to have happen. I’m still very open to new musical experiences and new things keep happening, so I think that’s something positive to keep in mind… maybe you yourself could see where some experimentation takes you. I think you should do a journal even if it’s only to keep a record to enjoy looking back on your experiences… I’ve always written down what I see and I’m glad I do.

      As to consistency, I know that some of my experiences with sound and music are 100% consistent while others are not… but a lot of factors play into it and it can depend on what exactly you’re focusing on and how you feel and some synesthesia types can be weaker than others, so sometimes that can be the case. You might be unsure of certain colours, while others are very clear, for example. Anyhow, if you have interesting experiences I think the key is just to enjoy them and let them change your life for the better, and not even worry too much about labelling them until you’re finally sure.

      That’s so funny about you falling into these things when you’re bored at work, it’s a bit like the prisoner’s cinema phenomenon, you start seeing things when there’s not enough stimulation and it’s a bit like sensory deprivation! That’s work!

      I think you would be interested in reading what Carol Steen wrote about hypnagogic and synesthetic visions (she has both, with acupuncture and a few other things, and she describes the differences between them): http://ouvroir-litt-arts.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/revues/actalittarts/544-two-kinds-of-visions-synesthesia-and-hypnagogia-a-comparison (it’s not in French, only the first paragraph :D )
      I have her linked on the Tree, but on the page on tactile-visual syn, not the music pages https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/tactile-visual-synesthesia.html
      If you fancy going down the rabbit hole about the hypnagogic visions (there are various names as there are different types), then I can recommend these pages:
      http://www.oubliette.org.uk/Three.html
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-eye_hallucination
      (this last one is Wikipedia but to my non-expert eyes it is in fact a really good article)
      There are several stages to closed-eye visualisations and the latter stages tend to be associated with taking hallucinogens, but some people get them naturally without any drug use and my experience is that they can also be “encouraged” through focus to a certain degree.
      You might also find this Tree page interesting: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/images-seen-in-creativemusical-trance.html - not exactly what you are experiencing, but has some points in common and it’s interesting how an uncommon or unknown experience can be very similar for a very small percentage of people who have a similar sensitivity, involving playing music and concentration, in this case.

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    4. Upon further searching. Feeling pretty confident it's hypnagogic I've tried controlling the visions. I am now pretty positive it's hypnagogic, as I was able to control some colors and create kulver constants. Although it wasn't straightforwardly as easy.

      Here are some anecdotal take aways. Things that worked and didn't work for me.

      1) It doesn't help to force it, as this isn't relaxing and relaxing helps.
      2) It helps to pick a color and try and build off that. I like green, and I may see an aurora of colors stem off of it.
      3) Connecting with the music helps. I think imagining myself as the notes helps.
      4) Seems like you should expect a good 10 minutes before you reach a deep enough state to "maintain" the visions and see them transform.
      5) I also felt like "these" visions were less in my minds eye then the day dreams and more in front of my eyes as per you described the hypnagogic visions.

      other:
      When I say hypnogogic visions it will mean my relaxing and listening to music visions. The other visions I will refer to as day dreams.

      My day dreams are much more logical in shape, and occur when I'm not listening to music. These flash briefly in my minds eye and feel different from the hypnagogic visions, but ironically do not match any rhyme or reason the way the hypnagogic visions fit the music. I feel like the reason these feel they're in the minds eye is because I am fully conscious, and they aren't the main focal point of my thoughts.

      So I think in my case, I was getting two different hypnagogic visions with slightly different traits. One interpreting music, and one that felt more in my minds eye. If you combine the two, they seem very synesthesia like.

      I definitely will be going down the rabbit hole. Knowing what to look for gave an immediate benefit and I would like to continue developing.

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    5. Very interesting to read your new discoveries. The same happens to me about the 10 minutes relaxation thing: I need about 10 minutes’ “warm-up” with music before I start seeing the really good stuff, and I think it must have something to do with relaxation and kind of “letting go” and being able to shut out outside interference and even waiting for your everyday thoughts to calm down and disappear as you get concentrated on the music and only the music.

      Yes I remember reading in some people’s accounts of this that it was possible to change the colour to another in hypnagogic experiences, which it’s impossible to do with the synesthetic colours. I must say that I couldn’t rule out that you have synesthesia though. I wonder what you discover as time goes on. (One thing that I have found is that it is very rare for someone to have only one type, so if you are a synesthete you would probably have one or more of the more common types of synesthesia too, even if only in weak form, perhaps you could try to find out). If your visions are indeed hypnagogic, I think you’re privileged to be one of the people who can see them so clearly and progress so far with them, because I know most people can’t (or don’t know how). It’s fantastic to discover the state of mind to be able to do that! I think some intense meditators can, but in part I believe it might be a kind of "talent" some people have.

      In what you call your day dreams do you ever have pictorial images, or only shapes and colours? Do you ever have something like a long sequence of very short flashes of autobiographical images (from childhood, mostly) that are random mundane details, things like the floor, your hand or part of a piece of furniture or something like that? I’ve had this effect quite often and have heard of it in (just a few) others. It’s connected with deep relaxation for me too I think. It can be either mind’s eye or seen physically, with eyes closed. In my case I know these are created by the music, but it’s more as if it was like by some specific aspects of sounds that transport me to a certain place and time in childhood, nothing to do with the tempo or style of the music. The timbre, perhaps, or emotions created by a certain sound. It seems similar in some ways to your experience.

      Ah, and you must include this in your rabbit hole:
      http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2006/08/when-our-eyes-are-closed-what-do-we.html?commentPage=1
      There are nearly 400 comments with people’s experiences and I read the whole lot, I found it amazing :D I was particularly interested in images for what I was researching, but shapes, colour and music are discussed in it too.

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  13. Hey, I came across this page by chance and I thought I'd ask, because it has been in my mind for quite some time.

    I habitually stay up late watching videos on social media, and due to the late hour I watch them muted. Though the videos are muted completely, I sometimes 'imagine' sound in my head while seeing speficic movements. The sound is not something I really hear, but it appears in my head almost automatically and without me thinking about it, usually in response to rapid movement.

    I haven't paid much attention to whether or not the same movement consistently causes me to think of the same sound, but I know for sure that the sounds I hear in my head are not related to the sound produced by the actual video (for example: I don't hear splashing sounds just because there is water. the sounds are mostly arbitrary and don't remind me of anything in particular most of the time).

    I was wondering whether or not this could count as a type of synesthesia. I have severe misophonia too, which is not synesthesia as I understand, but I am told that statistically there is a correlation.

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    1. Hello Deppie, nice to meet you! “Hearing” sound in response to certain types of silent movements can be considered synesthesia sometimes, if as you say the movement itself rather than the image seems to determine your perception, or perhaps features such as its speed, and they’re not movements that you would necessarily associate to the exact kind of sound that you perceive. I think you should try to test yourself to see if they’re consistent, because to be considered synesthesia I think that would be an important part of it. Have you read the page on the Tree about motion-to-sound and when hearing movement can and can’t be considered synesthesia? (https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/motion-to-sound-synesthesia.html) As it appears that the majority of people can actually “hear” certain kinds of gifs sometimes without necessarily being synesthetes, perhaps you could look at it to decide which case is most similar to yours.

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  14. Hi Pau!

    I’ve had some issues trying to post so apologies if this ends up going through multiple times.

    I have numbers-color and numbers/calendar-space synesthesia in a way that easily fits into the given descriptions, but my experience with emotion/concept-image (associative) isn't abstract like I've typically seen it described, but more concrete images or scenes. Would this still qualify as synesthesia?

    Examples:
    -Something like "losing the forest for the trees" is more literal for me. I'll know my perspective on something is off if I feel like I'm right up against a giant tree trunk and all I can see is bark. If I feel like I've gained perspective and have a better grasp on something, I'll see a forest from a bird's eye view.
    -If something logical clicks into place for me, I might see a perfect Tetris piece falling into place (and get that same feeling of satisfaction). If something feels logically inconsistent, I might see a messed up Tetris board, or some other image that makes me feel like something doesn't fit. Bad analogies will cause me to feel that the concepts don't "look" or "feel" the same.
    -I work in a creative field in story development. If, while visualizing the story while reading, the scene looks white-washed to me, I'll know the world building isn't there. If a character doesn't look like a fully defined person in my mind, I'll know that more specificity needs to be added. If I see a character arc as a line graph that begins and ends in the same place, I'll know that there wasn't growth over the story.
    -Coming out of a depression episode viscerally feels like those Claritin commercials where the tinted film lifts and you can see the world in full color again. (The images will sometimes be extremely specific or connect to something in TV/film like this, but they typically seem to resonate with people if I say them out loud.)
    -While discussing with friends the difficulty in pulling someone out of a conspiracy theory, I got an image of a Chinese finger trap. I can then make sense of the frustration that the more abstract concept makes me feel, because those things "feel" the same to me. Intellectually, the way a Chinese finger traps tightens the harder you pull is the same to me as how giving someone more evidence debunking the conspiracy theory only further convinces them that you've been brainwashed by the deep state (or whatever it might be). The image helps me make sense of what I feel about a concept and articulate my feelings in a more literal way.
    -Similar to how images help me make sense of what I think and feel, they can help me find solutions. If I'm feeling/seeing "rock bottom," I can eventually see that a potential solution would be to blow a hole out of the side of the wall of the crevasse I'm in. I can then translate that idea into knowing that I have to find a different solution for escaping the situation than what I've been doing, and I have to figure it out myself because no one is coming along with a ladder to save me.

    It never occurred to me that experiencing this might be "weird" because everyone uses phrases like "a weight off my chest" or "seeing the light." I didn't realize that other people apparently aren't actively visualizing/feeling those situations. The images aren't always accepted cliches, but those phrases do seem to prime my brain to create that image when that feeling comes along. Then there are cliches like "seeing red" that I'll use because I know that will convey what I'm feeling, even though I haven't specifically felt or seen that image. (Consequently, using that phrase feels inauthentic to me.)

    Very interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

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    1. Hi BK!

      Thank you for telling me about your interesting case!

      What it most makes me think of is concept-shape synesthesia, if you haven’t already seen that page it’s here:
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/concept-shape-synesthesia.html
      Those examples are with abstract shapes and colours and there aren’t actually any figurative ones on there (yet)… but pictorial images definitely form part of some synesthetes’ experiences in certain types of synesthesia and in your case I don’t think they’re incompatible at all with concept-shape. What you say about the Tetris pieces, the white-wash and the line graph are good examples of abstract concept-shape.

      Then, the last two examples you give remind me very, very much of some of the descriptions in a study that’s quite well-known and very respected in the synesthesia circles: Danko Nikoli膰’s “One-shot synesthesia”. You can read it here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703764/ Some of the synesthetes he interviewed spoke about similar experiences they had had occasionally where for example the answer to a problem they were going through suddenly appeared to them in the form of a pictorial image or location representing the solution. This similarity is interesting and I’d like to add it to my page actually… would it be OK if I quoted your experience too?

      So, very interesting and thought-provoking!

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    2. Thank you for that article! I only learned about synesthesia a week ago so it’s been very helpful to get a better understanding of what my brain is doing. Some of the examples of one-shot synesthesia resonated with me (as well as how those examples were more triggered by the person’s mental/emotional state), while occurring at the higher frequency of high-production synesthesia. My synesthesia isn’t constant like the ticker tape, but readily appears anytime I don’t immediately have the words to describe something. (It feels near-simultaneous.)

      You are welcome to quote me on the site!

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    3. I'm glad it was useful! Useful for me too, because I knew about Danko Nikolic´s study but I hadn't put 2 and 2 together and realised he was talking about the same thing as what I have as concept-shape here in the Tree. I'm discovering that it's not as rare as it seemed at first, and that there are more people who have forms of it that just come up occasionally, so it seems a bit like a not-so-distant cousin of the more constant type where some people have geometric shapes flying around them with all their thought processes.

      As you say: "...it readily appears anytime I don’t immediately have the words to describe something": that is important, I think. I have had this kind of experiences too, and I feel it's like an alternative to words and much more effective. The interesting thing is that as we are synesthetes these processes become "visible" and take on colours and shapes, which is probably not within reach of someone who isn't a synesthete.

      I'll certainly include some of the things you said when I add to the page: they're a great contribution in fact!

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  15. Hi, this is something that i've experienced consistently throughout my life but couldn't really find info on it online. Wondering what your thoughts on it were.

    When I hear certain sounds, typically consistent, "white noise" like sounds, such as running water, or a fan, I start experiencing an involuntary, albeit unclear, mental stream of words.

    What I mean by unclear is that if I focus on the stream of words that have started popping up in my head, they're not really a discernible sentence or anything, nor are the same words consistently coming up. Theyre not even always whole words. It's more so that during the fluctuation of pitches(as you would hear in a trickle of water), the change from higher notes/pitches to a lower one, or vice versa, trigger certain phonetics in my mind, with those higher pitches associated with vowels typically.

    I do experience other forms of synesthesia, spatial synesthesia such as months of the year in certain positions in space, numbers in space, but it was this one thing that's really been making me curious. Thanks!

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    1. Very interesting what you say, and I happen to know what it is because I get it too! It isn’t a form of synesthesia but something called “audio pareidolia”. Here’s a definition of it, I think you’ll relate:
      “Audio pareidolia is hearing words/music that are not actually in the sounds you are hearing.
      People with audio pareidolia typically hear words or music when exposed to softer, constant background sounds such as fans or engines running.”
      That definition’s from the website of Neil Baumann, which I like a lot because he talks about all sorts of hearing-related stuff and I’ve found some answers there to various things I get. This is the page of his site where he talks at length about this phenomenon:
      https://hearinglosshelp.com/blog/apophenia-audio-pareidolia-and-musical-ear-syndrome/
      It’s called “Hearing loss help” but you don’t need to have hearing loss to get it, it can happen to people without hearing problems too. It’s the brain automatically looking for and recognising patterns in sound… and completely fooling us and we can’t do anything about it (except turn the fan off perhaps).
      The comments are interesting too on that site because a lot of people write about this and other hearing-related phenomena, asking what they are.
      Interesting to hear you’ve had it all your life… the first time it happened to me was a few years ago and I thought it was a beautiful experience (although a bit mysterious as I didn’t know why it was), when I walked past a big chalet you couldn’t see from the road and heard a load of people talking, like a huge party or barbecue in the garden, I couldn’t quite make out the actual words but I was so sure it was a party that I even went up looking to try to see them through the wall or fence somehow, and couldn’t, and then I realised it was an underground stream making that sound. That has a lot in common with what you’re saying in your description in fact!

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  16. Hi,
    I was recently made aware that people do not associate sounds/colours/shapes/ to every word/tone/pitch and I was told I might have Synthesia.

    To explain more in detail:

    When I hear people talk, I see the words that they're saying sort of in my head sort of in front of me, like subtitles. It's like I can visualise it in midair but it doesn't disrupt my vision. I'm still aware of the things around me. As well as seeing the actual word, every word has an accompanying shape, and depending on the tone, quality of voice, person it's coming from, there's a colour too. If it's background noise, it's grey cloud shapes and I can't see the subtitles, but the more those voices come into the foreground and I understand what they're saying, those shapes become more colourful/real/tangible.

    Some sentences have patterns/some conversations have patterns. Like 'Hi, how are you?' 'I'm good, and yourself?' is a common conversation I hear and so it has a very set pattern that look like blue squares...

    It doesn't just extend to verbal sounds though. I went to school where there was a lot of deaf kids so we learnt Auslan... So I weirdly... hear? Auslan... So when I watch people sign, I can still see the words in my head and then I add my tone and colour to it depending on how they sign. So for me, excited colours are usually red, green and yellow, so when my friends were signing very excitedly, I'd see the subtitles and hear what their tone would sound like and then see the shapes/colours.

    The last thing I kind of experience, is if I close my eyes while listening to music... I can see these patterns and... the closest thing I can describe it as is fractals? They are constant colours and shapes that move and dance with each other. I can see them when I don't close my eyes but I try to ignore it because they're actually very pretty but distracting. Although, in saying that, when I need to focus on something I often listen to music so that all the parts of my head that could be distracted have something to focus on. Some of those patterns/shapes do actually make parts of my body tingle/itch/twitch, and there's a certain pattern I see (usually when I listen to techno/house music by accident or there are certain sounds like people chewing or buffering windows in a car when you're on a highway) that makes me irrationally angry or anxious because the patterns are all disorganised. One time the sound of chewing sent me into a panic attack because of how overwhelming it all was.

    I don't know if any of this makes sense. There's a lot of other things that I can describe about how weird my brain works, but this is the stuff that my friends confirmed they've never experienced before.

    Also, if I do have Synesthesia, how do I get formally diagnosed with it/what do I have to do for it? It doesn't really bother me (except the mad anxiety thing, but I just avoid listening to certain types of music)

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    1. Hi Bibz, and thanks for writing.

      Yes, from what you describe you have several types of synesthesia, and you experience them very strongly! Visualising “subtitles” when people speak is called Ticker Tape synesthesia, and if you are actually seeing it physically and not just in your mind’s eye then you would be what is called a “projector” synesthete. It’s very interesting that each word has a shape to accompany your ticker tape, and that you also see colours that belong to the voices, this combination of different concurrents is certainly a strong synesthesia, as most don't get so many things at once! But it’s interesting to see how words/colour/shape each correspond to a particular inducer and how they interact for you. That specific "how are you?" conversation having a form and colour of its own sounds like concept-shape synesthesia to me, so really you have all of these:
      ticker tape
      voice-colour
      concept-shape
      (or if the shape of the words is produced by the letters they contain, then that could perhaps be grapheme-shape)
      Very interesting that sign language also comes into it, as another way of producing words and emotion without involving a voice: and you have colours for that too. Or perhaps rather than perceiving words, your colours correspond to the perceived emotion these people are signing with, so it would be “perceived emotion-to-colour synesthesia”.
      As to what you say about music, some of what you say sounds like closed-eye visuals that are not synesthesia, as you mention fractals, and they might possibly be phosphene/hypnagogic type visions (they usually appear when your eyes are closed, but not exclusively). To distinguish which they are, you could first of all think about whether they are created by a specific aspect of the music, so for example each separate timbre of a particular instrument, or each pitch, or each chord, or each musical genre, consistently produces the same colour/shapes/type of movement, even if you listen at different times, in which case it sounds more like synesthesia, or whether the colours, patterns and fractals appear more when you close your eyes and relax, aided by the music, and are different each time and not consistent with what you’re listening to, in which case they would be non-synesthetic closed-eye visuals.
      Your reaction to people chewing, the window sound and certain types of music definitely sounds like misophonia! That isn’t a type of synesthesia, it’s something different. And if you see a consistent pattern when you react to those sounds, that sounds to me like it’s emotionally-mediated rather than produced by the specific sounds themselves, so there might?? possibly be some emotion-to-visual synesthesia (and emotion-to-tactile too, for the tingles and twitches!) contributing there.

      Here are the links to the pages in the Tree for the types I’ve mentioned (+ another reference for the closed-eye visuals), you could read them and see if you identify and they might make things clearer for you:

      Ticker tape: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/ticker-tape.html
      Voice-colour: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/voice-colour-and-voice-shape.html
      Concept-shape: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/concept-shape-synesthesia.html
      Grapheme-shape: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/grapheme-shapetexturecolourimage.html
      Perceived emotion-to-colour: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/perceived-emotion-to-colour-and-other.html
      Closed eye visuals/phosphenes/Hypnagogia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-eye_hallucination
      Emotion-to-visual synesthesia: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/emotion-colour-and-emotion-shape.html
      Emotion-tactile synesthesia: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/emotion-tactile-synesthesia.html
      Misophonia: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/misophonia.html

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    2. Synesthesia isn’t really something you “need a diagnosis” for as it isn’t a negative condition that people need to cure or get help for, it’s just a trait that makes us different, and intrinsically it’s something positive and to be enjoyed! So the vast majority of synesthetes are self-diagnosed: they’re just sure they have it because it’s clear and obvious to them. Yes, for misophonia and the anxiety it causes, avoidance strategies are excellent if you can easily incorporate them to your day-to-day life. I have that too and it’s tough sometimes! But unless you are getting sensory overload and have to avoid that, the synesthesia part tends to be something that enhances our lives.

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  17. Hello Pau, I know that I have grapheme-colour synaesthesia, as do both my parents and brothers. For us, numbers have clear and consistent colours (different ones for each of us). I also associate some letters, days of the week, and months with colours.
    More recently I noticed that I perceive colours when I am relaxed and pay attention to my body. For example, when I receive a massage, all sorts of colours come up, like lights or mandalas, but these are not consistent for specific touches. When I pay attention to my own movements, I perceive colours that often turn into images. It's the same during meditation; I usually get a full-on colour show that includes figures and symbols. Now I am unsure if this may be related at all to my synaesthesia. Or is it more a form of hypnagogic hallucinations? Though I don't 'see' the colours like a hallucination, I rather 'feel' them. Thank you for your work and for reading this!
    All the best wishes

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    1. Hi!
      Thank you for telling me about your case!
      What you say sounds more like hypnagogic visions, as it all seems to be connected with deep relaxation and also because you mention “images, figures and symbols”, and that ties in with hypnagogic visions or closed-eye visuals, where more complex apparitions like actual images of things, people or places can start to flash into your vision after, or accompanying, the stage of the colours. So the content, the times it happens and also, importantly, the inconsistency, all make me think it’s hypnagogic rather than synesthesia. I think it’s more typical to see the hypnagogic visions physically as flashes of colour and light rather than as a “feeling” or in the mind’s eye, as you mention… but I do believe there could be a stage where they’re perceived like that: if I think about my own experiences with intense relaxation I certainly get that effect many times, with images, concepts and rapid colour impressions. The colours are very specific and very beautiful but I don’t always see them physically. It seems others have this kind of manifestation too, so to the best of my knowledge I would say it’s hypnagogic. Anyway… it’s to be enjoyed!

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  18. Hi! Ever since I learned to read, I see words in my mind's eye. For example, when I think "I'm tired" I can see the words in my head for a few seconds. When people are talking, I don't see every word. If what they're saying is short, like "What time is it?" every word appears in my head. If they say something long, I might only see the first word, third word, fifth word, etc. It's not always a regular pattern, and depends on how quickly people speak. Or I might see part of what they are saying, then a break, then more words. Typically, the words are white on a black background if people are talking. If I'm thinking the words, I can make them look different if I want to, but again, they are usually white on a black background if I'm not consciously changing them. I don't know if this is important, but I also learned how to spell this way. I distinctly remember being three or four and trying to spell the word "goat." I remembered the picture of the word to spell it. If I hear a word that I don't fully know how to spell, I still see the word, but can't focus on the individual letters. Also, when I watch TV on captions, I tend to see the words pretty rarely. Do I have synesthesia?

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    1. Hello! I would say you have ticker tape, which if it manifests reasonably strongly, like in your case, is considered a type of synesthesia. I don't know if you've already read the page on this - https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/ticker-tape.html - but if you haven't you could take a look because it describes a lot of variants and how different people experience it, and they have many similarities and a few differences from your case, but each exact form is unique really! That's interesting what you say about how you see words you don't know how to spell, and it seems logical that when there's already a TV caption floating around you would see that one rather than yours. So, yes!

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  19. Hi there,
    I was wondering, how can I tell if I have synesthesia or if I just associate things together randomly? For example, I sometimes forget that e isn't the 6th letter of the alphabet because 6 and e are both yellow. I don't physically see the colours, they just feel right. However not all letters have a colour. I have asked my friends about this, and we will have whole conversations about what colour said number or letter is, so I don't know if I have synesthesia or if people usually associate colours with characters. Also, songs have colours, and again, I don't physically see them, but I can't tell if I think of them as that colour just because of the cover art as it is often a similar colour to the song. Sometimes the art is very different though. I'm just confused! I can add more examples if need be, but any clarification help would be great.
    Thanks

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    1. Hello and thanks for getting in touch!
      Well no, people don’t usually associate colour with characters if they aren’t synesthetes, or at least if they do they tend to obey certain associations they know they’ve made in the past for a certain reason, it would happen with very few letters/numbers and it’s an association they remember rather than feeling that it simply forms part of that character, that it “is” that character, as you say it “just feels right”. What you say about 6 and E is the typical kind of thing that synesthetes say (and non-synesthetes don’t). It doesn’t matter if not all letters and numbers have a colour, as long as the ones you have are consistent each time and you feel them to be an inherent property of the character. You could certainly have song-to-colour synesthesia too, because unless it is very strong the album art can confuse you, I’ve read many accounts of that happening (it happens to me too!). The best way to check would be to listen to songs via some way you can’t see the album art at all and think about your colour reactions and how you feel them. You could even note them down and check again at a later date and see if they’re all basically the same. But yes, from what you say I do believe you are a synesthete. And that’s great if you can get to discuss letter colours with those friends and they don’t just look at you blankly… perhaps you have some synesthete friends who don’t realise they’re synesthetes either? :D

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  20. It was only recently that someone suggested that I might have synesthesia, and I've since been reading all I can about it. Based on what I've been reading, I believe I may have spatial sequence synesthesia.

    I have intense visualizations of abstract systems such as numbers, letters, and a lot of other things. Multiples of 10 get pictured in my head as a turn of the corner. When I picture the years, say the 1990s is like a row of numbers and there's a sharp turn of the corner at the beginning of the 20th century, less sharp turns at decade breaks. I think I picture the 2000s as ascending, the 2010s as descending--but it's a bit vague; the direction is not always consistent in my head.

    I also visualize the days of the week, and the months of the year. The week kind of ascends, and kind of tapers to the side--or kind of moves in a circle, clockwise--from Friday to Saturday to Sunday. The months of the year also ascend.

    The English alphabet appears in my head as basically a straight line of letters (maybe slightly curved), but the Hebrew alphabet (which if you're familiar with it has long been used as a numeral system) has a turn of the corner at the 10th letter, yod. For some reason the kof (which represents 100) doesn't appear as a turn of the corner.

    Actually, the thing that really first made me aware of this tendency in myself came a few years ago when I suddenly realized that I've always visualized the political spectrum so that the political left appears on my right, and the political right on my left. It's as if I visualize it in a way that's reversed from the way it's commonly described in words--I'll picture say Bernie Sanders as being (visually) to the right of Joe Biden who's to the right of Donald Trump.

    Do I visualize music? Kind of. Not the melodies really, but the structure of songs--the arrangement of verses, choruses, bridges, solos, etc.--and how it progresses in time (I see the 2-minute mark or 3-minute mark as turns of the corner). I've long had the preference that I don't like to watch music videos to songs I've never heard before, because it interferes with my mental process of developing my own visualization of a song. When I say visualization, I should be clear that it's rather vague; I'm not sure I could draw it. But it does exist in my head to some extent, and I feel it.

    I don't think I have color synesthesia; none of these visualizations involve color.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Yes, everything you say there fits in with having spatial sequence synesthesia.

      Perhaps the “vagueness” you perceive with the 2000s/2010s is due to them not being so fixed in your mind yet as the older decades are, that would seem logical.

      The politics positioning you talk about is a good example of spatial visioning of concepts (https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/spatial-sequences-of-concepts-other.html)

      It’s interesting you see the structure of songs spatially, and that they’re similar to your other spatial manifestations such as time. And yes, a lot of auditory-visual synesthetes don’t like seeing music videos when listening as it either isn’t right or it can confuse us if we see them before we get to listen to the song properly!

      It’s possible to have synesthesia without colour perceptions, it can just be shapes/lines/spatial positioning etc. without colours, not the most common but some people certainly have it like that.

      Thanks for writing!

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  21. I’m not sure if it’s synesthesia but when I listen to music I see vivid vivid colors. And it’s not like a block color there’s movement too. Like I see colors swirling together and taking form and it’s never consistent. It’s always changing. I’ve never tried to test it with someone talking but I always see really bright colors. Even if it’s pitch black the second I close my eyes and I’m hearing music it’s like the music screen you could watch when you downloaded a song on a laptop ages ago. It’s all colors and swirls and bursts. Idk if it’s synesthesia. It would be pretty cool but no one seems to be able to do the same thing. I can see the colors with my eyes open too but it’s not as vivid. It feels as if there’s a screen depressing my mind colors from my vision. I still see everything around me but I also see these colors in another part of my mind. And depending on the song and it’s crescendos etc I can feel it in my body. Like if you’re doing yoga and relaxing and you feel heavy. That’s how I feel.

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    1. HI! I must say I'm not sure if it's synesthesia or not: it might or might not be. From what you say about it being 1) basically with eyes closed, 2) not consistent 3) the colours being really bright, that sounds more like hypnagogic imagery, especially if the music leads to a very deep relaxation in your case. If it was synesthesia the experience is more like automatically "knowing" what colour each note, or the timbre of each instrument, or each song, is as you hear it, and that can either be a strong association in your mind or actually physically visible as you listen. And there would be a good degree of consistency. What you say about "also seeing the colours in another part of my mind" does sound like synesthesia though. Really it could be either! Here are some questions that I put to someone another time in this same section, perhaps they apply to your case and you could use them to determine whether this is synesthesia or hypnagogia:

      Do the shapes look like Kl眉ver’s form constants? Or perhaps a bit like a fireworks display sometimes? (that would be hypnagogic imagery) Or do they look like simple and abstract shapes/colours? (synesthesia)
      Do the shapes or patterns repeat the same movement over and over again (forming/reforming is a perfect example), but don’t follow the timbre/notes/rhythm or any other aspect of the music? (hypnagogic) Or do they only form and move in response to a timbre/note/chord/key etc. of the music and disappear when that stops sounding? (synesthesia)
      Are the colours and the shapes random, not always corresponding to the same timbre, note, etc., so you might get for example yellows one day and purples another, circles one day and chequerboards another, whatever the music? (hypnagogic) Or are they totally linked to specific timbres, notes, etc.? (synesthesia)
      Do you see the shapes physically? (hypnagogic) Or in your mind’s eye but not physically? (synesthesia) (it’s not impossible but very unlikely you would be a projector synesthete if you’ve never noticed this before).
      Do you see the shapes only with your eyes closed or in the dark? (hypnagogic) Or with your eyes either open or closed as long as you’re focusing on them, because you feel as if they’re coming from your mind rather than from your eyes? (synesthesia)
      If you’re seeing them with your eyes closed, do you see them near to your eyelids? (hypnagogic) Or in a space about a metre or so away from your eyes? (synesthesia)
      When this happens, are you always in a state of great relaxation, or perhaps tiredness or sleepiness (not just focus)? (hypnagogic) Or doesn’t that matter, as long as you’re focused? (synesthesia)

      Another thing is that is if someone is a synesthete they usually have more than one type. So thinking whether you have any other types like for example grapheme-colour, days and months-colour or spatial sequence would perhaps give a clue.

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  22. Hello, I've been reading about synesthesia for the past week and I have begun to wonder if I myself have it? Nothing throughout the list really resonated with me until I came across concept-shape synesthesia. I started to read about it and at first didn't think it was applicable to me until I read about the more complex form. A lot of the examples given throughout the page really were things I could relate to. Seeing shapes, colors and concepts visualized in my mind. I can't physically see them, but I can sense them. Sometimes, a concept (really any word) will give me a full on experience, sort of like a painting or a portrait. You know those landscape paintings? It sort of looks like that and they are strikingly beautiful with all of their colors and shapes.

    For example, I've been cycling through a bunch of words and drawing what I imagine. I thought of the concept of war and visualized two cubes: one black and one white. They rotated and orbited around each other and it made perfect sense to me. My interpretation was that the cubes are opposites (black and white) and are constantly moving (always at war with one another). No matter what I think about the concept of war, it always seems to go back to those two cubes. Obviously, I can think of other things when it comes to war, but that is the image that feels the most right to me. My example was just for the word war, but I experience it with plenty of words, far too many to describe here and they are all for the most part consistent. There might be a very rare variation with the size of shapes, movement or details but very little, almost identical. Do I have synesthesia? I've always wondered what might be going on within my head, and nothing seemed to resonate with me until I read that article about concept-shape synesthesia. My mother was talking about something to do with letters and numbers one time, and I could visualize them swirling around me with all their colors. It was like a whirlwind, but the only colors I could really make out of it were a red A, and blue D. Funnily enough, it doesn't feel right to me if A or D were different colors. Even typing it out now, I can see them swirling around in my head with all their colors and I wish I was an artist so I could draw it out with decent results lol.

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    1. Yes, I would definitely say so... I think that's a nice example, as the shapes and colours always seem to have some kind of logic behind them, and your black and white cubes for war seem to sum it up very well without words, which I think is what concept-shape is all about. The coloured letters sounds very synesthetic too, so perhaps if you focused on different letters or numbers when in a state of relaxation and thought a bit more about what colours/shapes/movements they have it might become clearer and stronger. Yes, it's a pity sometimes because you have such a clear idea in your head but when you try to draw or paint it it doesn't do it justice, I think many synesthetes (me included!) can identify with that!

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  23. Hello! I don't have synaesthesia, but I am really curious about it and want to make some questions:

    If you have myopia and see blurred letters, do you see them in their color when you can't make them out clear or do you not see color at all until you focus on them?

    Do you see the words with each letter in one color or do the words become a combination of the colors of the letters? Or maybe a whole word, such as 'car', is made up only with the color of the first letter?

    The days of the week, or the months, when you see them written, do you see the word as the letters or as the color of the day of the week you see? For example, if you see Thursday light blue and the letter jack is white, when you see the word Thursday written, what color is it?

    Does your color change in a J, for example if you read a spanish word like "Jam贸n" or if you read an english word like "January"? Does this has to do more with how it is pronounced more than the character itself?

    Thank you in advance!

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    1. Hello!

      “If you have myopia and see blurred letters, do you see them in their color when you can't make them out clear or do you not see color at all until you focus on them?”
      Well, you perceive the colour of the letter when you recognise the letter, i.e. as soon as you perceive that it’s a particular letter and not just a blur, set of lines or something else.

      “Do you see the words with each letter in one color or do the words become a combination of the colors of the letters? Or maybe a whole word, such as 'car', is made up only with the color of the first letter?”
      This depends on the synesthete but I believe it is rare to see each separate letter as a colour within each word, all at the same time. Most synesthetes perceive the word as having either the colour of its first letter; a related hue of that colour as it is influenced by the colours of the other letters in the word; a combination of the colours of the different letters but not all of them (and not all with the same strength of colour); the colour of another letter in the word (not the first letter) which has a particularly strong colour impression and kind of “takes over” the colour of the word.
      More info on the grapheme-colour page of the Tree
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/grapheme-colour-synesthesia.html

      “The days of the week, or the months, when you see them written, do you see the word as the letters or as the color of the day of the week you see? For example, if you see Thursday light blue and the letter jack is white, when you see the word Thursday written, what color is it?”
      You would have to ask different synesthetes and see what they say. But really it depends on focus: if you see the word and think of the day, you would perceive the colour of the day, if you see it and think of the letters you would see the colour of the letters (if you could manage to forget about the meaning as you looked).

      “Does your color change in a J, for example if you read a spanish word like "Jam贸n" or if you read an english word like "January"? Does this has to do more with how it is pronounced more than the character itself?”
      Well the meaning of the word can also often influence what colour we see it in, if the word has a strong concrete meaning, especially if related to a colour in some way, so “jam贸n” isn’t a good example as it’s clearly the colour of the outside of a leg of ham to me. The colour “comes and goes” a bit though, alternating between the leg of ham colour and the colour of letters perhaps.
      The word “red” in Spanish I see as grey, but the word “red” in English is red, because the meaning of the word in English causes a strong colour impression independently of its letters, and it doesn’t have that meaning in Spanish.
      But if they are words without a strong colour/taste/very common everyday object association, or if they refer to abstract things, then for me at least they would have the same colour in the two languages (or in any language), so for example “mes” and “mess” have the same colour, as do Jaime and Jamie, ventilaci贸n and ventilation etc.
      Sometimes the pronunciation can affect it, so for me for example religi贸n and religion are a bit different for me because religi贸n is softer, fluffier and a softer colour, matching its pronunciation, while religion has a hard, thin surface and is a darker colour.
      But it depends totally on the synesthete. You could ask (better if it’s one question at a time) somewhere like Reddit/Synesthesia or in a Facebook group and see if you get a variety of answers.

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  24. Hello, I believe I have auditory tactile synesthesia. I only discovered the name for it a couple of days ago. It was on a whim that I decided to Google 'why noises hurt me' after much reearch I discovered Synethesia.

    I have all the signs i.e. same noises produce same sensations in same body part. Mostly within my torso. sudden bangs cause a thud in my chest. Cracks/pops in the walls & roof cause zap, electrical shock through my body, starting in my chest. Almost every sound creates an internal sensation. Music is troublesome. I also find the right words need to be said within correct 'timing boundaries' otherwise I will feel sick in my stomach. There are others as well. I get prickly skin when I feel threatened it unsafe.

    Along with the physical sensations I have imagery in my minds eye that accompanies the sensation. For example, the sound of a stapler, gives me a dense, shock, hurt feeling in my chest, and uncomfortable sensation of having an empty cavity as my torso. The imagery connected is of a shovel being scraped from inside my chest.

    I think that maybe some type of OCD elements could be involved (I am not diagnosed) eg. 'The correct words said with right timing', and the need to have "things/objects a certain way" in order for it to feel 'right' as well as there being a physical sensation if it is done wrong.

    I couldn't find any information about my specific experiences. It seems to be mostly tactile responses, mainly in response to sound, although other triggers like emotions & thoughts and visual can also elicit physical sensations.

    I also couldn't find mention of mental imagery occurring in conjuction with tactile response.

    Thankyou!

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    1. To me it seems a bit different from auditory-tactile synesthesia, actually, so I’m really not sure. In any case, I think I don’t know enough to be able to say that it is or isn’t, without a shadow of a doubt, but I’d personally incline to say it’s something different.
      A few things make me doubt it’s auditory-tactile syn. One is the negative aspect of it: auditory-tactile tends to be positive on the whole, giving good feelings and not just bad, or much of it is just neutral (even if a bit weird!) in the best of cases.
      Also some of what you say sounds like a reaction to the surprise of an unexpected sound, which doesn’t have anything to do with synesthesia.
      You didn’t mention if you have other types of synesthesia, but if you don’t have any others then it’s unlikely you would just have auditory-tactile.
      Some thoughts I have on this are that auditory-tactile synesthesia is more like categorising sounds in some way, often mainly musical, so the sound of one particular instrument would cause you to feel a specific sensation in a particular part of your body, another instrument would create another type of sensation in another, or perhaps a fast musical tempo would create one tactile reaction, a slower tempo another.
      The appearance of mind’s eye non-abstract images associated with the sound doesn’t seem to fit in with auditory-tactile for me, either. If they were abstract or colours I think that would be more similar to a synesthetic experience. Can’t totally rule it out though!
      (Yes, - and although OCD isn’t my area of speciality at all so don’t pay much attention to me here! - I was thinking the same as you when you mention the timing boundaries and finding the right words and the sense of being threatened with something bad if you don’t, that part of it sounds like it could be related to some milder OCD-like effect.)
      Exclusively negative reactions to general sounds could fit into the domain of misophonia, hyperacusis, odynacusis (when sounds cause pain, there might be other names for it), grima, auditory hypersensitivity or even some sort of mild sensory processing disorder. Perhaps you’re familiar with all of those phenomena, or perhaps you could try to find out more, and something like your particular experience will appear when you investigate!
      Another reason for the doubts is that there have been few studies on auditory-tactile synesthesia, or at least only on the kind that has sometimes been reported after suffering brain damage, which is different from the type that people can have if they have been synesthetes all their lives. So there is a lack of clear and restricted definitions by leading scientists about what does and doesn't constitute auditory-tactile syn.
      You could focus and explore your experiences more to get a better idea of their possibilities. You could try doing that in a focused, relaxed atmosphere with a type of music you find pleasant, for example. That way you could learn more about what kind of reactions you get and what they depend on, and discover the more pleasant ones.
      Hope you get more perspectives or answers!

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  25. Hello, I think I may have auditory tactile and mirror speech.

    There's some music that I listen to - mainly electronic synth music, 80s music, pop, drum and bass and trance that can really give me bodily sensations. At times it can be like being in a deep meditative state and I find it really pleasurable and relaxing and at the same time, depending on the music, I can feel the urge to move my body - sometimes it feels like a stretching sensation up my spine, other times it can be quite impulsive and I find myself rocking or bopping along but there is a sensation in my chest like its tense and intentional even though its not - I don't know if that even makes sense. I am sensitive to sounds as well so too many people talking can really negatively impact me, I cant stand jarred sounds, loud noises hurt my head - like sirens, fire alarms, my phone alarm but its not necessarily a physical sensation like pins its a tension in my shoulders and my face scrunches up. The same sounds give me the same sensations each time or even the same body movements/impulses.

    I think I have the mirror speech because when I listen to music I love to sing along and I like the sensation of singing and harmonising - it feels like a good stretch haha I don't know if that makes sense - but when I sing I feel like I'm super empathic with the singer in the sense that I can feel in my mouth and throat how I'm suppose to position my voice to make the same sounds as the artist

    I may also have ADHD and I know that people with ADHD can stim which helps process sensory information which is what I thought this might also be but after reading about this Im not so sure. I do feel energised and relaxed at the same time when listening to the music that triggers my body responses. I do prefer slow and relaxed music but find that I respond more in my body to upbeat and fast music like drum and bass or electronic but its funny, I dont usually have many sensations when listening to rock music.

    Any advice would be really appreciated, thank you in advance

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    1. Hello. Interesting to read about your sensations! I think you are probably very sensitive to music and sound but I’m not sure if it’s auditory-tactile synesthesia. Perhaps you could focus very carefully on the actual physical sensations different kinds of music give you, in a kind of darkness-and-no-distractions environment, and see if you think certain sounds are producing specific physical sensations in the same part of your body or not, and how the music “moves you around” - whether it’s odd movements of specific parts and physical sensations like tingling, localised pressure, feelings on your skin, etc., which would be closer to auditory-tactile, or more of an impulse to dance and accompany the rhythm by moving kind of thing, which would be just a good sense of rhythm and musical appreciation rather than a kind of synesthesia.

      I would say mirror speech is a bit different from what you describe. Mirror speech would be more the physical sensation of your mouth and throat moving as something automatic on hearing the sounds someone makes, despite not having any intention of imitating them or even listening particularly to what they are saying or what noises they are making. More just as an annoying or curious physical sensation that happens to you when you hear someone making sounds (which can be speech, or singing too I suppose, although what seems to be important is the physical qualities of the sounds). To me it sounds more like you are a natural singer and a brilliant imitator! Plus mixed in with some empathy for the person you hear, too. This is just my personal view of what you say, so maybe you could find some more information about mirror speech and see how people’s experiences compare to yours.

      To me, your sound sensitivity sounds like you have some mild hyperacusis, some sounds cause pain and it isn’t much fun, I have that too ☹ Not connected with synesthesia though.

      By the way I really get what you mean about the rock music thing!

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    2. Thank you <3 This is really helpful in understanding more about myself, I appreciate your time :)

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  26. Hello, I think I have some sort of synesthesia but I am not sure, so I wanted to post it here to see what you think.I am scientist and when I am trying to work out complex interactions among multiple variables I often have something like a breakthrough wherein I experience their mutual interactions as an abstract, 3D shape which is often richly coloured and with subtle textures. Once I 'see' this shape I seem to understand the system instantly, but have a hard time translating the experiential solutions from my mind's eye into speech when my colleagues ask how I found the solution. Initially I would try and say things like " you know, its an oval spheroid colored purple which fades to red toward the bottom with a texture reminiscent of orchid petals and there is a bulge on the left quadrant " to which my colleagues would look clearly confused. Sometimes the idea-objects have sensations of movement or subtle emotional undertones which accompany them. I do not know how to evoke them or even manipulate them really, they simply appear as I am thinking and then leave me struggling to describe them. I would say that most of my thoughts (beyond simple, superficial thinking) are experienced in this way which means that I have always had to try slow down my thinking and translate into words. I assumed that most people think like this or that I was just a visual thinker but a recent conversation has left me wondering if in fact this is a kind of synesthesia. What do you think? Thank you for your time!

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    1. This is classic concept-shape! And yes, it is considered a type of synesthesia. I was thinking you were talking about a case of "one-shot synesthesia" but then you mention that you experience many thought processes like this so it actually sounds like the classic more complex concept-shape. Here's the link to the page on it: https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/concept-shape-synesthesia.html
      Do read it, because you will identify! I love your description to your colleagues of the oval spheroid petal solution. I would feel privileged if someone described one of those to me, but that's just me :D

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    2. Interesting! The associative concept-shape synesthesia sounds very much like what I experience. It's bizarre to see myself in that description, though putting a name to it somehow helps me appreciate it. I think I'll be less frustrated the next time I am struggling translate my thoughts into words. :D

      Pau, Thank you so much for this site and your expertise.

      Kindly, Vance

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  27. Hi. I'm not sure if I have some sort of synesthesia or this is just plain good memory.

    I've come across and read about synesthesia months ago, but only since the week before I posted this message I started knowing about it more intensively. This may sound insincere but what made me start doing this was that I started playing a game recently, in which one character has synesthesia (specifically the character sees colors from sound and can sense the color emanating from a person based on its emotion). I was fascinated and tried some tests online to see if I happen to have it myself. The results left me really unsure.

    I did tests from both https://synesthesia.com/blog/synesthesia-tests/ and https://synesthete.ircn.jp/home . I first tried the first site.

    For the first website, they have what they call "Grapheme-color Test" and the "Stroop Test". Before I started looking up for synesthesia, I never thought of assigning colors to letters or numbers. When I took the first test, I assigned colors for numbers and letters on the spot, and after which, the second test followed. The results of both tests suggested that I may be synesthetic, because the scores I got are similar to those by synesthetes. However, the site pointed out that there are a lot of things to consider and that diagnosing synesthesia is challenging. That left me with a question mark in my mind.

    For that reason, in hopes of I can confirm whether I'm a synesthete or not, I went to the second website (which happens to be mentioned in the first site). There they have the "Synesthesia Battery", in which it contains a questionnaire and the same two tests, albeit longer than the ones from the first site. For the Grapheme-color test, the score suggests synesthesia. However on the second test, called Speed Congruency Test, I fell short of what is considered synesthesia. I suspect that I tap the buttons too slow, the timer starts too soon, or the algorithm for verifying congruency is stricter than that of the previous site.

    For both websites, I never used any kind of cheat sheet or any aide to manipulate my scores, because I'd be fooling myself by doing so.

    Meanwhile, I used some exercises provided from the first website, something about listening to a background music and think of what color is this piece of sound and how they manifest in my mind. I feel like I could draw how the sounds would look like on a piece of paper, for example, two rectangles that alternately tilt up and down, or a line that draws in an irregular zigzag that is moving away. These associations come to my mind only when I pay attention to the music, though.

    I'll be including this experience in case that this is related. There was a time when a friend told me I got perfect pitch, because I was able to play a song without any reference materials on the spot using my harmonica. I couldn't confirm this at all though because I'm not well-versed in reading music, and that it's been a long while since I played the harmonica.

    Currently, I couldn't conclude whether I have synesthesia or not, because it was just a week ago since I started making an effort to explore myself...I'm just really uncertain at this point. Considering that they said synesthesia develops during childhood or is innate to someone, and that the reason why I did all of this in the first place is somewhat shallow, I am open to any possibilities. I hope you can give me insights about this. What do you think? Thank you in advance for replying to me.

    P.S. I'm left-handed.

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    1. Hello! You bring up lots of interesting points here!

      If you got a score below 1.0 on the grapheme-colour Battery test then you can be pretty sure you are a synesthete. Especially if you’ve never really thought consciously about the colours of letters and numbers before. If you weren’t one, it would be highly unlikely that you would pass that test.
      Grapheme-colour synesthesia isn’t particularly challenging to “diagnose” as it’s a type that’s simple to test for.
      I think you will also probably see now how your colours for your letters and numbers begin to firmly establish themselves in your mind from now on as you focus them and notice them more in everyday life. And after that happens, as time goes by, you will have no doubts at all when you do the Battery Test or any other similar test. When people first discover their synesthesia (or in the case of young children), the impressions are often vague, and they gradually become much more sure about them, and that means the consistency of your synesthesia increases. So a person who has been aware of their synesthesia and focused on it for many years often has an apparent degree of consistency that is much higher than someone who’s never really thought about it before. But if someone isn’t a grapheme-colour synesthete they can’t pass those tests unless they cheat or do a whole load of rote learning from scratch to establish letter-colour combinations, which doesn’t seem a very logical thing to do!
      To make sure your pass in the Battery Test isn’t just because of a fab memory for the colours you chose (which is possible I suppose but very unlikely!), they recommend you to repeat the test again after six months, so the best idea would be to do that.

      The Speed-Congruency Test isn’t a test of whether you are a synesthete or not in the same way as the accuracy test is, there isn’t a huge difference in the average score between synesthetes and non-synesthetes in that test and it isn’t regarded as proof, so your results on that part of the test shouldn’t be a concern. You might like to read this paper by the authors of the Battery Test if you haven’t already, which explains the workings of it and addresses this aspect:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047354/

      The first site you mention, I know it so I can comment on it from memory although my antivirus will never let me visit it for some reason. If their grapheme-colour test is an abridged version of the Battery Test then the shorter it is the more unreliable the results will be, so the Battery Test is obviously better although this one might be good just as a preliminary try-out.
      From what I remember, that site it is more aimed at non-synesthetes and has a mindfulness programme that people can sign up for which uses cross-modal correspondences for people to concentrate on and relax, it calls them “synesthetic capabilities” or something like that, but that part is not about developmental synesthesia, really it’s something different. Of course if someone tries it and starts seeing colours and shapes with music and realises they’re a synesthete then that’s great, but it’s not very likely to happen. The rectangles and zigzags you mention could be synesthetic shapes but if you had timbre-shape syn. and it was just very mild and you just hadn’t noticed it, you would probably feel they’d always been like that and those shapes were just logical. Then you could focus in on them more. If timbre-shape resonates with you and sounds like your perception, even if it’s never been an overwhelming experience, then it would be worth listening to different types of music with good headphones in the dark and focusing it and see if your perceptive experience deepens.

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    2. And:

      Absolute/perfect pitch (although not my area of knowledge really!) would be the ability to sing/play an exact note on demand without doubting when told which note was required, or identify a note being played or sung, rather than being able to play a melody by ear, which would probably denote a good ear for music or excellent relative pitch, but not absolute pitch. Some tone-colour synesthetes have absolute pitch and the colour they see in response to a note can help them say which note they’re hearing.

      It’s no longer thought there are more lefties among synesthetes. More recent studies have shown that there could be more cross-dominant/ambidextrous, but the proportion of lefties was actually found to be the same.

      Yes if you have synesthesia you will have had it in childhood… but it’s also totally possible you didn’t realise, if your synesthesia doesn’t give you weird strong experiences or if you just think your perception is normal. That’s the case for many people, that was my case too, I am a timbre-shape synesthete and also grapheme-colour and I hadn’t even realised!, so finding out some information and seeing whether you are or not is an excellent idea. Good luck with finding out more!

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    3. You nailed what I'm feeling when you said "When people first discover their synesthesia (or in the case of young children), the impressions are often vague", because it wasn't clear at all or too subtle for me to notice until last week. I'm connecting the dots now that I'm more aware of what I can sense. I'm more convinced that I actually got grapheme-color synesthesia. I didn't expect the timbre-shape though. I'll definitely listen to other music and write down the figures that comes to my mind for each song (I'm into pop, but metal and classical music aren't new to me). Thank you, Pau!

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    4. You're welcome and I hope you make interesting discoveries about your synesthesia. Do let us know if anything interesting comes up!

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    5. Hi, I've been exploring myself in the past few days and here's what I've got:

      I've been looking up for more resources about synesthesia--videos, images, and firsthand experiences of other synesthetes, and by now I could say that I can relate to them to some degree.

      Regarding other types of synesthesia, I have ruled out many types, like lexical-gustatory, number-form, ordinal-lexicon personification, mirror-touch, and others. It is clear that I don't have those at all. On the other hand, grapheme-color seems to resonate in me well, in an associative level. Auditory-visual synesthesia is what I'm focusing now. I listened to different tunes, like "Chanson" featured in the Civilization V game and "Spring Rain" by Yiruma, "Stalingrad" by Sabaton, "Muse on Music" instrumental album by Lovelyz, "LOVE!HUG!GROOVY!!" from D4DJ (this one got tidbits of six different musical styles), and the various background music from Genshin Impact. They trigger different visualizations in my mind for each instrument that plays when I hear them. Here are some things that I see in my mind when I hear music:

      1. Hearing chimes generate a yellow circle that fades out from the center as it gradually disappears. The color is different depending on the pitch (bluer if low, pink or orange if high). Drums also create these kind of circles, but they disappear faster;
      2. Violin (and other related instruments like viola and cello) induces a long smear that stretches horizontally, and they're often in shades of yellow depending on the pitch (can be gold, brown, orange);
      3. Wind instruments have straighter lines compared to the smeared pattern made by violins;
      4. Electric guitar plucks produce shorter smears, but continuous strumming just colors the whole "scene", usually in red, blue or violet.
      5. Piano sounds make split-second bursts of circles that are brighter the higher the pitch is. They're not necessarily in color but when they are, it depends on the overall feel of the music;
      6. Electronic music is highly variable. This is where I experience drawing of lines, sprays of color, rays and flashes of light, a lattice of squares of different colors, and sirens produce expanding circles like a ping in the radar, to name some.

      When it comes to voices, it depends on whether it has lyrics or not and how each syllable is sung. If it has lyrics, it depends on if I know the lyrics and if I understand the language it is sung in. The lyrics show line by line, in its original script (if I understand it, otherwise it's in romanized version), along with all the visualizations that comes from the accompanied melody. If I don't know the lyrics, the words will only appear one by one, but if I just don't catch the words at all, I feel that something is still prompted, but unrecognizable. Now, for voices used in a capella music, they produce things like, vertical ray or a spotlight-like ray with particles rising up the light. Lower pitch produces blue color; shrill voices are pinkish white; while death growls (for metal music) are mostly gray static, but I felt a tinge of red or orange in some who change the pitch while doing it.

      The lyrics showing in my mind thing, I remember experiencing them way back in high school, which was 11 years ago.

      Lately, I have written down some of these associated visions of sound of various songs on my "synesthetic notebook".

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    6. I previously said that "if I understand the language it is sung in", because aside from Latin script, I can also read Hangul, Katakana and Hiragana. Currently, my grapheme-color syn is starting to establish itself in these writing systems, for example, the Korean character "銊" is red, and "銋" is yellow. Also, I felt that some of my color assignments are still preliminary, like with A, M and W are all red to me and I thought that reassigning M with light red and W with darker red would allow me to distinguish them from one another should I want to remember words based only on their colors. With this, I'm wondering if synesthetic color assignments are meant to be immutable or can be changed by will.

      And, for some songs in which I have watched the music video, I can't help but play it in my mind alongside the synesthetic visualizations, like they're playing side by side. I've read here that playing music videos in the mind isn't syn, but what about music video and the visualizations running at the same time? Thanks again in advance!

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    7. Thank you for telling me about your journey of discovery - that's great you've been able to focus on your timbre-colour and timbre-shape. Sounds like you have ticker tape syn too. I always find that interesting in the context of watching songs - and it's interesting to see what colour it's in and what texture it has, as for me some singers have a particular colour, texture and even font type all their own... and there's one whose words are different colours as he sings them. I often write it all down too - I think a notebook helps you learn about your own experience and return to it when you want.

      About the colours for letters and whether you can will them to change - you can try but it doesn't work. :D I've found (and it seems to be universal) that if I "assign" a colour or shape to something rather than its natural synesthetic one, I can remember that colour or shape but I can't perceive it automatically with the inducer - it's only memory, like something you've learnt. So you can forget it quite easily too and really you have to make an effort to "see" it anyway, however small, so it doesn't feel the same. But being able to remember the different shades you wilfully assigned might be useful as a memory jogging trick of course, even if it's different from your synesthesia.

      If you are lucky enough to be able to combine music video visualisations (the group's music video or your own that you see in your mind when you listen) with your colours and shapes so that they are like part of the same world which you can enter mentally, that is fantastic and something you should definitely experiment with. I used to get a lot of scenes and figurative visualisations along with my abstract shapes and colours, and as I didn't know what the difference was at the time I just abandoned myself to them, and when that was with strong relaxation and focus it often crossed over into lucid dreams. I can't do it any more, it only happened for the first 6 months at the stage when I first realised I had synesthesia, i.e. the stage you are at now, and the experience is probably unique to each synesthete or each person, but those were some of the strongest experiences I ever had, very memorable and very beautiful, so I would definitely recommend just having an open mind, not rejecting anything and seeing where it takes you.

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  28. I think I might have synesthesia. The type that I might experience is emotion-image and some other types as well. The way I describe emotion-image is whenever I feel a certain emotion, there's always a certain image that popped into my mind, like whenever I felt scared, I always had the image of a horse running from fire or knives coming out of my skin or a sword coming out of my throat. I can also "hear" my emotions, like neutral or indifferent would sound like a fan or TV static. I can also envision personalities in my head, like my sister's personality would look like a beach with a sunset in the background. I remember also feeling things in images, like peoples hair most commonly or peoples shirts . Sometimes, I can "smell" personalities, like Lady Gaga's would smell like cigarettes and AURORA's would smell like lavender, this would mostly happen with strangers, though. I also always envisioned the days of the week in a star shape instead of a line, or the months of the year as a triangle instead of a verticle line. I also remember feeling types of music as "thick" or "thin", thin as in paper and thick as in car oil. Thin music would be like orchestral music and thick as in something like electronic music.

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    1. That’s an interesting combination of synesthesia types, a lot of them quite uncommon!

      Emotion-image. These might be just associations or they might be part of your synesthesia, I’m not aware of any research studies on this that can really, definitively tell us whether emotion-image should be considered synesthesia or not. But it appears that some synesthetes do visualise or perceive very consistent images corresponding to specific emotions, so perhaps your case could be considered one of those. There’s a section on Emotion-image synesthesia on this page of the Tree (it’s the last section on the page) so if you haven’t seen it you could look at the other accounts and see if you relate:
      https://www.elarboldelasinestesia.com/2020/10/la-sinestesia-emocion-color-y-emocion.html

      Emotion-sound. This is interesting! It isn’t in the Tree because I’ve never seen this reported by anyone before, either with their own emotions (as in your case) or with the perception of other people’s emotions. I’d love to know more about it. What other sounds do your emotions make you perceive. Do you hear them in your mind, as a real sound, or just “feel” them?

      As to your personality-based synesthesias:
      You can read about person-image synesthesia, which sounds like your type, in this section: https://www.elarboldelasinestesia.com/2020/11/las-imagenes-figurativas-como.html#sexto
      And personality-smell is here:
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/personality-smell-and-personality-taste.html
      and I think you’ll identify with that. Not common types, but interesting!

      You describe calendar synesthesia too. There are many shapes and forms the months and days can take.

      And as to the music being thick or thin, this is curious because it might be musical genres-texture (texture+shape?), in which case I don’t think I’ve heard that exact type reported before… except there are only two types of texture (is that right? or are there more textures that go with more music genres?), so probably if all genres fit into two types of texture it would be something closer to duality synesthesia (https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/duality-synesthesia.html). But in your case, rather than the inducer being all concepts in general, it would only be for musical genres. Unless more things in life trigger it for you and you realise that many concepts, objects, colours, people, etc. are also either thin or thick, and then it would be “classic” duality synesthesia.

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  29. Hi , I want to share my experience of what I think is a kind of synesthesia. I'm asking it here because no matter how much I tried to find it on the internet, I never found something significant related to my synesthesia or someone who was experiencing the same thing as mine.
    It's a bit hard for me to explain it but I'll try my best. It's related to written information. When I try to remember a written thing, which could be anything, a chat with a friend, an article, some information written in a book or anything ,except novels, I see images and those images are not random, they are places or locations that I have seen earlier. For eg, When I remember the starting of a long chat with a friend I had 2 years ago, I see myself at the attacker's spawn in a map of CSGO called Dust 2. I know it sounds weird but it does happen. These images keep changing as I progress more in the chat, for eg. As I remember the 10 min that had passed of us chatting, I see myself approaching towards the defender's spawn. These images are not smooth but I see them in breaks. (I can't really explain how I see them, it's difficult to explain it in words). I see these images in my mind's eye and they come automatically as soon as I start thinking of those written things and I can't stop them. They sometimes are associated to games but recently they are connecting to real life locations too - images of my former house, my school I used to go to 6 years ago, the basement of our building etc. When I had my chat I mentioned here, I wasn't even playing CSGO, I had had not for years but it was for some reason associated with it. I know there are a lot things that I could have mentioned here but they are not clicking in my mind right now.

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    1. Hi! I think the whole subject of the random locations appearing to people is very interesting. I don’t have an explanation for it and I personally wouldn’t consider it synesthesia, I think it’s some other kind of phenomenon, but I’m planning to write a page in the Tree about it when I have time as it’s something a lot of people mention on Reddit and I have some of my own experiences with it too.

      It’s interesting that your locations only appear with a memory of something written. I’ve seen cases for other people of them being linked to things like general concepts, songs, actions, topics, video games, words, messaging on their mobile phone...

      And as to the locations themselves, people often say they are autobiographical, as you mention, while other times they are not known places. I think little is known about this, whether it's one phenomenon or several, if it's connected with d茅j脿 vu, memory, categorisation of concepts or something else, why it happens and to whom...

      Anyway, of the accounts of this phenomenon received on the Synesthesia sub-Reddit, here’s one that I think is very similar to yours (as presumably it isn’t yours!) so you might like to read it. This person has it two-way, the locations take them to the written texts as well as the texts taking them to the locations.
      https://www.reddit.com/r/Synesthesia/comments/oiw7j5/is_written_text_placespatial_synesthesia_a_thing/

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  30. Hi! So I think I might have synesthesia but I’m not really sure, it’s possible that’s it just the way I’ve learned in school or the way I taught myself to do my schoolwork when I was little. My sister and grandpa both have synesthesia and can see colors in their letters and numbers. My sister can also see colors in names. I’ve talked to her about my experiences and she’s also unsure if I have synesthesia, so I did some research. I learned a lot more about synesthesia and it’s all super interesting but I’m still somewhat confused about myself. Ever since I can remember I have categorized numbers, letters, days, and months in very specific ways. For example, I see numbers as a time line and I am always sitting at zero, the negatives are to my left and positives to my right. I can only see this in my minds eye though, not in front of me like other people experience. Each number is dark or light, and if they are dark they are thick and heavy and if they are light they are thin. 1-10 are light getting darker and the teens are twenties are dark. Thirties are blue and light and forties are orange and dark. Negatives are black and they are heavy. Although I am always resting at zero, when I do math in school I can “float” over each group of ten and look at them to help me visualize and complete a problem, it helps me move the numbers together closer to 100 or zero depending on the answer. When I see these numbers in my mind’s eye however, it does not translate onto to paper. When I look at them on paper they just look normal. The same thing goes for letters months and days. They are all categorized in light or dark and heavy or thin, some with colors. They are all in straight lines with their own chronological order and they all have different segments in these lines, just like how the number line is separated by each group of ten. When I was little I struggled a lot with how the months of the year actually went because in my mind they start with September. Again as an example September and October are orange and heavy but January and February are dark blue and thin. I also categorize many periods of my life by being dark or light and thin or thick so when I look back at the winter of my freshman year that’s thick, but when I look at the fall of my freshman year that’s thin. The Spring of my freshman year is thin and also light purple. Also, at my old school we had a lot of work and tests that required a serious amount of memorization. I was really good at this memorization though because each fact was again dark or light and thick or thin with its own kind of mood or vibe that I find difficult to explain. Each smaller detail of that fact also had a type of mood, thickness, or color that helped me memorize it. But again, I can only see this in my mind’s eye not on paper. I was able to memorize pages of facts and information almost perfectly word for word with very little problem because of all of this. I’ve even had teachers call me a “human encyclopedia.” When I switched schools and the learning style went from memorization to analysis and writing I began to struggle a lot with school and it’s still not a strong point for me because there is no more way to categorize anything. I’m not sure if this made any sense at all and it could be synesthesia but it could definitely just be my own personal learning style as well! I would love to hear your thoughts because I think all of this is super interesting! Thank you :)

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    1. A lot of fascinating things here, and definitely synesthesia.

      Your number line can certainly be considered synesthesia. It isn’t necessary to see your spatial sequences visually, if they’re in your mind’s eye that’s enough. The majority see them only in their mind’s eye in fact.

      The “dark or light, thin and thick” numbers and other concepts: an interesting nuance to your number-colour synesthesia, and also a good example of what I call “duality synesthesia”, I don’t know if you’ve read about that:
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/02/duality-synesthesia.html
      I will add your “thick and thin” to the list as I’d heard of people with dark or light but not thick and thin before!

      I think everything you describe here is very synesthetic. The numbers not looking the same in your mind’s eye and on paper is too. And the year starting at September is a good example of the kind of thing that happens with spatial sequence synesthesia. You have lots of great examples of classic spatial sequence and duality synesthesia!

      That's a very interesting insight into your unique learning process. I think it helps explain a facet of why it’s often said that “synesthetes tend to have good memories”… although I think each case is different of course as there are many types of memory.

      Ah, and having synesthetes in your family is another good indicator that your experiences are also of this kind!

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    2. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! I’ve been looking more at your blog as well as doing some outside research to better understand everything you’ve just told me. When I read what you wrote about duality synesthesia it felt like you were literally describing the way I think, which was awesome! I have some more questions for you now that I’ve thought some more and done some more research.
      1) If I only see the colors of letters, numbers, months, days, etc in my head does that count as a type of synesthesia or no? It feels like a weaker point to me, almost like some of the colors are fuzzy and hard to see and if I didn’t focus I wouldn’t even realize they’re there at all despite the fact that they definitely are.
      2) Often times while having conversations with people or even just when thinking to myself I can see the words being said or thought projected in my mind. It’s definitely not every word it’s often just one or two random ones that for some reason my mind just kind of picked. It flashes there for a moment and then disappears and I have no control over this. Each word has a different font and color as well. For example I actually really like the word synesthesia because it’s a neat type of times new Roman font and it’s also purple and blue splotches mixed together. In my mind that perfectly describes the word, it just makes sense. Could you explain this to me please? Is this synesthesia or something else?
      3) I’ve read that synesthesia can be “blocked out” in a sense (at least that’s what I understood I could be wrong it was a little confusing) by strong negative emotions or an upsetting event. I’ve had some upsetting family problems for years now and have struggled with anxiety, ocd, and depression ever since childhood. Could this possibly have weakened my synesthesia or would it not affect it at all? Is it possible I could do something to make it stronger or discover new types I may have? All of this is extremely interesting to me and I would love to be able to experience all different types of synesthesia if I have them.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to make this blog. It’s helped me and many others learn about themselves and it’s actually meant a lot to me. Those were a lot of questions so no pressure to respond to them all, but I appreciate everything :)

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    3. Hi! I’m glad you found the Tree useful.
      To answer your questions.
      1) Yes, seeing the colours just in your head and even not being too sure about some of them or only really perceiving them when you focus is synesthesia too.
      2) Yes, that would be considered ticker tape synesthesia. If you haven’t already read about that, it’s here:
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/ticker-tape.html
      On that page you’ll find a lot of accounts of how people experience it, it’s slightly different for each person.
      3) Yes, I think so. For many people the kind of events you describe, as well as medication, has the effect of dulling their synesthesia, although it comes back when they are feeling more like themselves again.
      To make it stronger, what you can do is to be aware of it, focus on it, enjoy it and don’t worry too much about what it should or shouldn’t be looking like. With no distractions and in a relaxing environment, you could dedicate some time to just looking at it in detail. Something interesting to do is to concentrate on music with headphones, darkness and no distractions to see if you get anything from it. For example you could concentrate on your ticker tape for a singer’s voice and see what happens. If you don’t get anything from the sounds themselves, you could see what colours you feel with the emotions the music gives you, the letters in the words you hear, the numbers inherent to the rhythm. If you like reading, then you could look at words in general, languages (those you know and those you don’t), poetry, different texts, to enjoy the colours and feel of the words, which is reading them in a different way. You could think of the colours in the texts however you want: what it would be like to wear them, taste them, touch them, and so on. You could travel around your time line of the months, entering the space, or think of the scenery your number line creates. Or invent ways to explore it that suit you.
      Thank you for appreciating the Tree. I don’t always have time to answer quickly, but it makes me feel good that I’m helping people discover their synesthesia, as it can be life-changing!

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  31. Hi! I think I might have one or more forms of synesthesia, but I’m not sure. I suspect I might have duality synesthesia or OLP, since I classify all numbers into “good” and “bad” numbers. I can’t explain why, it’s just how they are. 5 is nice, but a bit boring and dull. 3 is a good number (my favourite). 23 and 48 are gross and disgusting. 4 is ugly but still kind. Additionally, I associate some numbers with colours. 5 and it’s multiples are an array of blues, multiples are 3 are reddish and multiples of 2 are yellow. A lot of numbers don’t have colours though or only have vague colours, like 6 is a warmer colour but I can’t pinpoint which. Additionally, subjects have their own colours (maths is blue, English is bright red, science is a light green & so forth) and some people have colours I associate with them too, like my best friend who’s a beautiful shade of lilac. I’ve been researching this for a while but I’m not sure if it’s really synesthesia or not. When I first started learning numbers, they were taught to us with colours assigned so I’m wondering if I just learnt that, even though my perception of numbers colours doesn’t line up at all with what we were taught. Anyways, I was wondering if this could be synesthesia or something else, thanks to anyone who took time to read this mess :)

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    1. Hello! Yes, all of that certainly sounds like synesthesia from you description, OLP for the numbers for example, and duality if they’re either good or bad, and having colours for numbers would be grapheme-colour synesthesia. In fact it’s common among synesthetes for multiples of each digit to take on the colour of that digit. And it isn’t necessary to have a colour for every single number: some might have none, or just be a feeling that you can’t pinpoint as an actual chromatic colour, like you say about 6. The other types you mention are coloured sequences (the school subjects), and person-colour. And it’s OK if some of your numbers have the same colours as they were presented with at school – that can certainly happen. It doesn’t really matter where you might have got your associations from, and if you can “trace any of them back to something logical” or if they just seem right to you but you have no idea of the origin. And as you yourself say, your numbers don’t match up with the colours they were assigned at school anyway. But it wouldn’t matter if they did. Some synesthetes have quite a lot of “hits” compared to fridge magnets they used when they were small children, others don’t… but it’s really immaterial. The fact that numbers are taught together with colours might help memory associations but it doesn’t turn people into synesthetes – if you are one, you just are :D

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  32. Hi there! I've been reading the comments here and have been wondering about a frequent experience of mine. To be very honest, I was a little reluctant to post this as it's a pretty silly occurrence and there's a chance I'm looking into the wrong phenomena, but this has been happening since I was young with no proper explanation so I'm really curious. Basically, I suspect I have a slight sound to smell reaction... but only for burps. I seem to 'smell' it through YouTube videos, calls, movies, and pretty much any audio without the 'physical' smell there. The smell is usually the same, but can vary a little between people - usually it smells warm (or used? If that makes sense) and kind of like opening a box of really old toys/things (I'm so sorry, this is the best way I can describe it). If I watch them eat or drink something beforehand and they open their mouth, I can smell hints of it. Sometimes I feel I can taste it too, which is wayy more gross. It's weird that I can sense it so strongly through electronic screens though. Through research, I've read that others who also have sound to smell reactions typically react to music and that it's called Auditory-Olfactory Synesthesia, however mine is just weirdly exclusive to burps so I'm not sure if it's the same kind of synesthesia - (I have yet to try it on other human noises, such as farts as I really don't want to know what it smells like). Because of this, I have acquired an additional response to hold my breath whenever I suspect a burp incoming. It's very annoying. I actually used to think this was normal until I mentioned it casually to someone and they were weirded out. Recently, I tested it with friends by playing audios of people burping and asked if they smelled anything at all. They all said no. Even if I did manage to have synesthesia, I have yet to find a category that best describes me. Auditory-Olfactory Synesthesia seems very well correlated with music but I don't feel this so I doubt I fit in there. This website is probably the closest explanation I've come across after years of not knowing what it was called or if I was the only one like this. So, although miniscule (and rather ridiculous), what could this possibly say about me? Could it be synesthesia? Or could I simply be mixed up with being conditioned to smelling a sound somehow? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you !! :D

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    1. Hi!
      This one made me laugh!
      This could be an example of what is called olfactorisation, which is a real smell that comes to you when you hear, see or read about something that has a smell and you actually experience that smell. Definitely some people are more sensitive or more prone to it, and you could also perhaps say it was a kind of olfactory hyperphantasia: you have a facility for actually recreating smells in the absence of what creates the smell, but you can do it with your mind. It isn’t considered synesthesia. Maybe you could experiment with it more to see if you get smells for other things, because when the smells are pleasant it’s a cool thing to have. Your experiments might not necessarily involve farts of course!
      I’m wondering if this is perhaps due to the brain “anticipating” what it should be perceiving and actually perceiving it, which is something that happens to quite a large percentage of people, in different ways. For example when you see that GIF of the electrical pylons skipping, a lot of people hear the bump as they hit the ground, but there’s actually no sound.
      I have an example of what I think is the same phenomenon as your burps thing myself. For me, if I see someone in a picture with no clothes on, they smell. It’s an unpleasant smell, always the same and I can always remember having it. I wonder why it happens with just one thing.
      Anyway this wouldn’t be considered synesthesia because with syn the smell you perceive tends not to be the same as it would actually smell in real life, but different, apparently not directly related, smell which is different for everyone.
      It also wouldn’t happen with just one thing, it would happen regularly, with many.
      Thanks for writing!

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  33. Hi! I already tried to post a comment but I did it the wrong way, so I will just copy paste what I said to here:


    I am a minor and I have been having some sensations I've "figured out" recently. Some I think are synesthesia and others I'm not sure, so I'll just list them all.

    -Colors and numbers have color
    -Music has color (The more I listen and learn the words, the colors feel more intense. I can also replay songs perfectly, including the music in the background. I download audio files and if I listen to them enough I can also replay the song in the bad quality it usually is. But I'm pretty sure most people can do that. I can also do this with songs in other languages)
    -Smells have color
    -I start to listen to music, and after one or two songs I begin to press my fingers against things in an order, and I tense in un-tense my different muscles in my legs and arms. I CAN stop but it is still automatic.
    -I associate people with colors.
    -Some things have textures. (especially names and other words) Not tastes- textures. Fuzzy, smooth, sharp.
    -Names (sometimes words) have colors. (days of the week and months have colors)

    That's the ones I can think of. But I also have a question.
    Is it normal to be worried that everything is in my head, and that I'm just lying to myself, and that I see the world like everyone else? I feel that way sometimes.

    Thank you!

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    1. I also just realized like an hour ago another sensation that might be synesthesia - I literally didn't realize it was a type of synesthesia until today.
      I was just thinking about when my cat stretched, in the back of my mind i could hear his stretch. Then I realized when I hear silent things (not all silent things tho) I just fill in sound, including abstract things. (These things tho usually have to be completely soundless)
      I especially am able to hear things that give of physical vibrations, for example, someone stretching. Is everyone like this or am I just weird?

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    2. From what you say you sound like you are describing grapheme-colour, chromesthesia, smell-colour and person-colour synesthesia.

      There’s a page on all of those in the Tree, you can find them on the Alphabetical List or you might like giving the Synesthesia Finder a try because it should get you to the pages describing what you have.

      For the words and textures, you could look at the comment and answer from August 31 on this page, it might be similar to your case:
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/04/list-of-synesthesia-types-by-prevalence.html?showComment=1662149408837#c7080120503403714527

      As for being able to recreate music in your mind, that wouldn’t be considered synesthesia, and the one about tensing and untensing your muscles to music or moving your fingers in a particular order, that wouldn’t be either.

      Hearing (physically, usually) silent movements can sometimes be considered synesthesia, but in a lot of cases it isn’t. You could read the page on it and see which cases tie in best with your case, as there are lots of silent things that you can fill in with your mind or hear, and whether they should be considered syn or not depends on what exactly they are.
      https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/motion-to-sound-synesthesia.html

      You ask if it’s normal to be worried that everything is in your head and that you’re just lying to yourself and you see the world like everyone else: yes, that happens to many synesthetes! The colours and other sensations are often just in your mind’s eye and they also seem just so “normal” somehow, like they’re no big deal and everyone must feel them like that too. A lot of people have these doubts, but if you fit in with the descriptions of synesthesia you don’t need to doubt it. If you want to do a test to show whether you are a real synesthete, you could do the Synesthesia Battery Test and that would probably leave you with no doubt. From the types you mention, only grapheme-colour can be tested, but if your music-colour synesthesia turns out to be note-colour, timbre-colour or chord-colour then they’re in the Battery too and you could try the one you have (you should determine which type you probably have first, I don’t recommend just trying all of them at once because they’re quite long tests).
      https://synesthete.ircn.jp/home

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    3. Thank you!

      As for hearing physical sounds, I've tried to pay attention to that the past few days.
      I hear abstract things, for example that "dots" video sounded like a bunch of tiny dots just popping all at the same time, in the same order as it went in and out. The other things I hear are silent motions when an animal or person is coming in contact with a surface. The other things I hear are stretches, and from inside a house when I see a bird or bat flying around, I hear their wing vibrations as well. (so like I hear repeated vibrations in the air) Would those particular sensations be considered synesthesia?
      As for music, the way something is sung really gets to me, along with the instruments played. The voice tends to matter a lot, (white people tend to be more 'colorful,' and black people tend to have more 'muted' colors.) but also the notes played.
      Another thing I realized recently: I don't like the rainbow. The whole pattern of it feels relaxing but also very off. Is that normal?
      (by the way, I have read most of the articles you mentioned...but I wanted to make sure (': And I'm sorry if you don't want me to respond to the things you said..)
      Thank you so much for reading my comment(s) and the advice, and have a great day!

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    4. (also that comment about words having textures is almost exactly how I feel about words. Our family got two kittens recently, and I don't like one of their names because of how furry it is.)

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    5. I think the "hearing motion" examples you give probably could be considered synesthesia, yes, especially if you hear abstract shapes moving.
      If you strongly and automatically associate a colour with singing voices, then that could be considered synesthesia too, voice-colour.
      I don't think what you say about the rainbow has a connection to synesthesia though.
      No, that's fantastic when people respond. No problem! It's been impossible for me to answer anyone this week, but I answer when I can :)
      The word-texture is interesting. To me a furry name sounds like it could be quite suitable for a kitten, but maybe the word's even furrier than him and it's too much :D :D

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    6. Thank you so much for the responses:D

      (The reason I have the furry problem is because it feels all weird, not really related to the cats furriness. )

      Theres also something else I've noticed - and I'm not sure if everyone else is the same.

      I was on the beach today, and across the water, on another part of the beach (about 150 feet away) there was a couple- boy and girl. The girl was longing, and feeling heavy emotions of love and slight distress. The boy was caring, but also distracted. I am near sighted and could hardly see them- but I knew this just by looking at them. When my mother is in the kitchen, I know her exact mood by her footsteps. Even through texts- I know the exact emotions of my friends. I sense everyone's emotions automatically, and everyone is always surprised when I say "why are you so sad?" Out of the blue. This leads to issues sometimes tho, because I take tone of voice very personally, because the emotions behind it feel very real to me. But I also know when someone plans to walk over and talk to me, just by the way their steps sound. When my father walks up the stairs, I know if hes coming in to talk to me or just something else. I've always been able to do this. (Overall the main triggers are body movements and tone of voice)
      Is this synesthesia related, and can everyone do this?

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    7. Not synesthesia-related, more connected with empathy. I think what you are describing here is part of being an empathetic, intuitive and naturally observant person. :)

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