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.

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.)

A ballet dancer with dance step kinetics synesthesia

Two studies by the University of Granada (Spain) describe a synesthete who learnt ballet steps through the colours she involuntary associated with each one as she performed it. She reports perceiving her colour concurrent in three different situations: her own movements on executing the steps, those of other dancers, and when she imagined herself dancing. Given that she made the associations on actually dancing herself, it could be considered a case of kinetics-colour synesthesia.

(C.M. Jiménez and N. Molina, “Sinestesia motora” 2011 and O. Ibarra, Sinestesia:El ejecutivo central ante tareas de modalidad cruzada 2011).

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.)

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

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