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Tactile-gustatory and tactile-olfactory synesthesia

Alternative names are touch-taste and touch-smell (or touch-to-taste and touch-to-smell)


These types of synesthesia consist of experiencing taste or smell sensations triggered by the sense of touch. They can be a response to one of two types of stimulus: either touching certain textures, or being touched. They are very uncommon types. According to Sean Day's study with data on 1,143 synesthetes, 1.14% of them report touch-taste experiences and just 0.35% touch-smell.


Here are some descriptions written by people with these types of synesthesia:


Touch-taste


Two synesthetes who perceive taste sensations on touching things:

“Touching certain textures is revoltingly terrible- can taste like terrible foods, while other ones are quite lovely.

A particular favorite of mine is soft yarn tastes warm and sweet? Kind of like fresh cup cakes out of the oven. It drove me to be an avid crocheter. Touching my own upper arms tastes like saltines. The fabric on the mattress I had growing up was blue cheesish? Yeasty and cheesy and absolutely revolting.”

(Source: This post on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia2020.)


“I experience tastes whenever I come in physical contact with anything. For example, my phone screen or anything glassy for that matter tastes like dark cherries.”

(Question: If you touch two different things at once, do you taste both? what does cat fur taste like when you touch it?)

“Yes, I taste them both but they do not mix. I taste them both separately. And cats tend to taste like peanut butter.

I absolutely despise the exterior of jeans. They taste like raw fish.”

(Source: This post and comments on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2018.)


A synesthete who perceives taste sensations (together with colour) on being touched:

“I've always had colors associated with touch. (…)

It's most intense with light touch. On the top of my head, it's normally a rainbow of pastel colours (…). I also associate it with the taste of Smarties candies in the US. (…)

Throughout my body, it's similar to the colors when touched on my face, but it's a rainbow of colors. On the back of my body, it has that dark background and reminds me of the taste of jawbreakers at times."

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


Touch-smell

"For example, if someone touches my arm, it's a floral smell. But if someone touches my chest, it's the smell of warm clothes."

(Source: This post on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2018.)


This page last updated: 19 March 2022


1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is so crazy. Never in my life did I think i would find someone experiencing this with me, I’ve never been able to find any info on Tactile-Gustatory Synthesia until now, my dad and my grandmother both had numerical sythesia and I’ve had this since I was just 3… so wild to see someone else experiencing this. I had a fit when someone gave me a corduroy bear as a child and it tasted spicy, nobody understood why I hated it so much

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