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Kinetics-colour synesthesia

This type of synesthesia, which appears to be very uncommon, consists of colour concurrents being seen or associated on physically carrying out sequences of body movements, which could be dance steps, swimming styles or gymnastics movements, for example. In a few rare cases the colours can be induced by seeing other people performing sequences of movements.


The vast majority of the movement-colour associations that have been documented involve the concept of the movements as the inducer rather than the synesthete’s perception of their own body as they make them, and such cases are a subtype of coloured sequence synesthesia rather than actual kinetics-colour synesthesia.


These are the accounts I was able to find of colour perceptions being triggered by the body movement itself and not merely the idea or concept of the movement as part of a sequence.

"Specific movements I make form extremely strong color associations (raising right hand is red, turning to the left is purple, etc.).

The strongest association I have is raising both hands, which relates to a bright orange. Walking is also a very colorful experience because my right leg correlates to a blue green while my left is burgundy. Talking—interestingly—changes shade depending on the pitch of my voice. I associate the physical sensation of speaking higher with a pale pink, which gets darker as I lower my larynx."


(Source: This post on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2021.)

This interesting case of a cheerleader provides great insight into the workings of kinetics-colour synesthesia:

“I'm on a cheer team, and when we do certain cheers or dances they tend to have colors. (…)

It's less conscious, but I notice sometimes I'm like "the purple part is what comes after that" or "the green part is pretty simple" in a routine. It feels like the colors get clearer when i'm used to the moves. At the beginning, it's individual colors for each separate move and they feel like they sort of clash in a confusing way. Once I get used to it, they blend and it usually becomes mostly one color, sometimes more. Simpler movements don't really have color, like raising my hand. Color usually happens when it's a more complicated move, usually using the whole body. It can be kind of helpful for learning a new dance, since the colors help me remember what comes next.”

(Source: This post and conversation on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2021.)


The movements of a gymnast

I also had the chance to chat online with a girl who perceived colours associated with her own body movements on performing rhythmic gymnastics:

“I used to do rhythmic gymnastics for 9 years and I remember straddle splits always being orange, while some other movements (...) used to be green, brown or pink.”

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

She told me “I got the colours both when I was thinking about the movements and when I was actually making them, but I didn't really get them from looking at other gymnasts”. She also sent me a series of photographs of different movements with their corresponding colours.


Related synesthesia types:

Coloured sequences

Kinetics-to-sound (a type of motion-to-sound synesthesia where the synesthete hears sounds associated with their own body movements. It is described in point 3 of the page linked.)


Última actualización de esta página: 15 agosto 2021

This page is about kinetics-color synesthesia
This page is about kinetics-colour synaesthesia

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