“Sensation” synesthesia or mixed concurrents

Some synesthetes find it difficult to specify what their concurrent is, as it seems to be made up of multiple perceptions and sensations at the same time. The concurrent sometimes even just consists of a powerful “feeling” or “vibe”, which is automatic and consistent but practically impossible to describe.

Here are some descriptions written by people who have this kind of experience:

"My syn is a bit particular. Like, first, I have grapheme colour and personification, and also sound to colour and movement of shapes. But if I just kind of let go the sort of mental walls that I create, I start to feel that all my senses come together, it is like all my perceptions mix in one unique process, and every stimulus makes me perceive complex sights, and feel a wave of physical sensations that take the form of coloured shapes in movement inside me and on my skin (not exactly that, but kind of). It feels a bit like the fingers on a guitar string let go, and the string can finally vibrate completely."

(Source: This comment on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2022.)

“Half the colors I associate with numbers aren’t really colors. Their whole complicated mess just happens to share a vibe with a color.”

(Source: This comment on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2022.)

"For as long as I can remember, I can "smell" months, seasons, and weather patterns, as well as associate colors with them and get feelings from them. I do not have to currently be in a month/season/weather pattern to experience this sensation; even just thinking about them can cause it. As an example; April smells like green which is dirt to me, and feels open and unending to me.
I'm not sure how else to explain it; it makes so much sense to me but does not make sense to others."

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

"Is there a term for when Audio, Visual, and Tactile are all combined?
I’m not exactly sure how to define mine, everything just kind of meshes together in various forms by associating in my mind, I guess the best way to put it is that everything gives off “vibes”, or certain patterns and tones when in my head, including more complex things like equations, and everything is kind of “manipulated” by mental hands, and a lot of things can be represented on different parts of my body, like how certain trains of thought are in the lower right part of my mouth."

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

“I think a good example for me would be any song by Kimya Dawson? She has a kind of desaturated, pinkish plum coloured voice and I feel it on my nose and the bottom ridges of my eyes. Sometimes, when her songs get more ‘white’ I feel it on my sternum as well.”

(Source: This comment on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2019.)

“There is something sensory I detect with voices done by voice actors that I recognize. It isn't strictly a color or taste or shape but a "vapor" of all three. It's hard to explain. Voices always have a shape to them to me, but it's not a discernable shape. Like I couldn't tell you. It's some weird sense I see/taste/feel in a combined way. The color and taste are more vapor/indistinct but definitely still there. I am very good at identifying voice actors for this reason.”

(Source: This comment on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2022.)


What could this be called?

This highly personal and idiosyncratic expression of synesthesia has never been classified as a type in itself or been given a name, although there is no doubt that it belongs to the realm of synesthesia. Here are a few ideas and suggestions for naming it:

- Multiple concurrent or mixed concurrent synesthesia. Multi-perception, multi-sensation or multi-sensory synesthesia.

- Alternatively, the name of the most prevalent synesthetic experience could be used, bearing in mind that it is fairly normal for one predominant concurrent to also be enriched by others that form an indivisible part of it, as that is how synesthesia commonly manifests.

- Or we could say that the synesthete in question has several types: to give a very basic example, if smells make them perceive coloured shapes that are visual and tactile at the same time, this person could be said to have olfactory-visual and also olfactory-tactile synesthesia.

This page last updated: 06 December 2022

Post created: 13 March 2022


  1. I know that, if i have synesthesia, it is likely an associative type. I have described a back pain i had as “sharp in the way a brass bell sounds” but i also associated it with the color of brass. Similarly, if i can taste cologne on the air (a phenomenon that occurred frequently in high school) i found myself associating it with a steel color (about the color of the blade steel reaper miniature paint, but more shiny), as well as with the voice of my high-school principal (high-pitched and scratchy) speaking into a really bad mic like this one: If i understand correctly, the type of synesthesia in this article covers multiple concurrent associated stimuli. Would I be correct to assume that I involuntarily associate unpleasant physical stimulus with both sound, shape and color?

    1. Hi! Your description of your reactions is very "synesthetic", i.e. the colours are very specific, and if you have more concurrents of this type and not just these few then personally I would definitely say you have synesthesia, yes. If you find you only get these concurrents with unpleasant stimuli, then emotion might come into it, so what you perceive synesthetically is caused by the particular emotion you feel, regardless of whether it's a taste-on-the-air, sound or something else that has caused you to feel that emotion. So you would be right with what you say. That would mean you probably have more concurrents of this type with other emotions... but perhaps you only notice it when it's something you feel very strongly, and your concurrents for other milder types of emotions go unnoticed, or you'd need to focus on them to really notice. On the other hand, if different types of physical pain cause you to perceive different colours, shapes or sounds, then you would have pain-colour, pain-shape and pain-sound synesthesia. But probably the multi-concurrent type that is described on this page fits in well with your case!