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 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 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 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.

For this person, colours are evoked not by movement but by different body postures:

“For example, if I'm sitting on the ground in such a way so that my right leg is on top of and is putting pressure on my left foot, my left foot feels light blue. If I tilt my body so that my pelvis digs into the floor, it doesn't hurt but the pressure is orange. If I cross my legs while sitting, the pressure on both of my thighs is purple. I can also sort of tell by color if I have a good posture or not... If I have good posture the color in my spine and shoulders should be a dark greenish-teal. If I'm slouching, the color is more concentrated in my neck and is light blue.”

(Source: this comment on the Do I Have Synesthesia page of the Synesthesia Tree)

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 last updated: 01 December 2023

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


  1. this seems like a cool type. I also like the colors of the stag leap.

  2. I thought I was just crazy!! Nice to know I'm not the only one :)

  3. is there a type where you see numbers and calculation's visually associated with movement?

    1. Hi! That's interesting. I don't think it's been specifically described as a type of synesthesia, although that doesn't mean it isn't one or that it doesn't exist, of course. Perceptions of numbers can be considered a synesthetic concurrent sometimes, so it would fit in with that perhaps - there's a description on the page on "Numbers as a synesthetic concurrent"
      - although I haven't mentioned movement as an inducer on that page as I'm not aware of any accounts of it.
      I wonder if there might also be a connection with the complex form of concept-shape synesthesia ("kinesthetic" thinking as it's sometimes called) or ideas and concepts being represented by constant mind's-eye perceptions of moving shapes, patterns, etc., on a conscious level... perhaps that could take the form of perceptions of numbers and calculations for some people.
      Do you see numbers and calculations visually associated with movement yourself?