Taste and smell

A “crossing of the senses” between taste and smell is not considered synesthesia.

What we normally perceive as taste is actually a combination of taste, smell and texture. When we identify a flavour via the taste buds on the tongue and a smell via the nerve endings in the nose, both sensations converge in the brain, which then integrates the information received so that the tastes can be recognised and savoured.

As taste and smell are so closely related, experiencing both at the same time, i.e. a taste experience giving rise to a smell experience or vice versa, is not considered compatible with the idea of synesthesia.

In Chapter 6 of the book Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia by Richard E. Cytowic and David Eagleman (The MIT Press, 2009), there is an interesting discussion of the relationship between taste and smell and how they are linked to synesthesia.


  1. One day I smelled a book and started to taste it. Is it normal or is it synesthesia?