Duality synesthesia

Some synesthetes involuntarily classify a wide range of concepts and objects as either odd or even. This is called stimulus-parity synesthesia. However, there are other variants of this phenomenon, where the two opposing categories are not odd and even but other concepts. The inducers that trigger this involuntary classification are words, letters, numbers, objects, colours, people, animals and even all concepts in general.

Some of the opposing categories that have been observed are:

Masculine or feminine

Positive or negative

Left or right

Warm or cold

Light or dark

Closed space or open space

Round or sharp

Good or bad

Pretty or ugly

One pallet of colours or another (warm colours or cool colours, for example)

No specific studies have been carried out on this type of synesthesia (except for the ones on stimulus-parity), and it is not yet acknowledged as a type. However, having read numerous descriptions by people who have these involuntary and consistent perceptions I am sure it could be one and I think a possible name for it could be duality synesthesia.


Here are some descriptions written by people with this type of synesthesia:


Warm or cold

“I group words into two categories: warm and cold depending on the feeling I get from them. It's extremely difficult to explain. Like the word "vanilla" is warm, and "chocolate" is cold. Even common words apply. For example: "the", "and", "on", "these" are all warm. "There", "or", "over", "those" are all cold. My sister thinks this way too, but she calls it left and right.”

(Source: This post on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2020.)

Two opposing colour palettes

“I see numerous dichotomous concepts as having either one color palette (red, yellow, pink) or the other (dark blue, green, black).”

(Source: this contribution to the Facebook group Synesthesia World. 2020. The author of the image, Aurore Zelazny, writes an interesting blog called Synesthesia Research.)

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