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LIST OF SYNESTHESIA TYPES BY PREVALENCE

All the types in the table are linked to their respective pages.

The percentages are very approximate and are based on the existing studies and on personal intuition in the cases for which there are no figures. They refer to the percentage of the synesthetic population that could have each type. The synesthetic population probably consists of around 4% of the general population.

The lists of types in each of the four boxes are ordered alphabetically, not from more to less common.

*Marked with an asterisk: as I have not been able to find any conclusive studies, I have taken the liberty of making an estimate based on what I have read and observed over the last few years.

**Marked with two asterisks: these are personal impressions as it is currently impossible to establish a prevalence for these types. See the note at the end of this page as to why not.



More than 50%

15% – 50%

1% – 15%

Less than 1%

Very common

Common

Not so common

Uncommon

Grapheme-colour (letters, written words, numbers)

(Grapheme-colour can actually be considered a type of Coloured sequence synesthesia, making this group of synesthesias in general the most common of all)

 

 

Auditory-visual chromesthesia

 

Coloured sequences (time units such as days and months, and other sequences)

 

Ordinal linguistic personification (letters and/or numbers)**

 

 Spatial sequence**

 

 

 

Auditory-gustatory (sound or music-taste)

Auditory-olfactory (sound or music-smell)

Auditory-tactile

Aura (projective personality-colour synesthesia)

Colour-taste*

Concept-shape

Duality synesthesia (masculine/feminine, heavy/light, rounded/pointy etc.)*

Gustatory-visual (taste-colour and taste-shape)

Lexeme-colour and morpheme-colour

Lexical-gustatory

Lexical-olfactory*

Mirror touch**

Motion-to-sound synesthesia (
observed movement-sound)

Motor (or kinetic/kinesthetic) synesthesia

Music-temperature*

Olfactory-visual (smell-colour and smell-shape)

Pain-colour/shape/image

Personality-colour

Person-colour (known people have colour associations)

Personification of days or months*

Phoneme-colour

Sexual (and romantic) synesthesia*

Stimulus-parity (odd/even)*

Ticker tape**


Auditory-motor (
involuntary movements in response to sounds)*

Colour personification

Colour-smell*

Colour-sound

Colour-tactile

Concept-sound

Emotion-smell

Emotion-tactile

Emotion-taste

Grapheme-smell (numbers and letters)

Grapheme-sound (numbers and letters)

Grapheme-taste (numbers and letters)

Grapheme-temperature (numbers and letters)*

Gustatory-auditory (taste-sound)

Gustatory-tactile*

Kinetics-colour (own body movements)

Kinetics-sound (own body movements)

Machine empathy*

Mathematical concepts-vision synesthesias

Mirror speech

Olfactory-auditory (smell-sound)

Olfactory-tactile

Pain-smell

Pain-sound

Pain-taste

Perceived emotion-colour-smell-taste-touch (emotions observed in others)

Personality-smell

Personality-taste

Personification of musical sequences

Tactile-auditory

Tactile-emotion (texture-emotion)

Tactile-gustatory

Tactile-olfactory

Tactile-visual

More than 50%

15% – 50%

1% – 15%

Less than 1%

Very common

Common

Not so common

Uncommon





Note: this table does not contain a list of all the existing types of synesthesia, it is just a route for finding information on this website.

** It isn't possible to suggest a final percentage for these types, for several reasons. It has been observed that spatial sequence, ticker tape, mirror touch (and some empathy-related phenomena) and, to a lesser extent, OLP could be present in people who would not normally not be considered synesthetes. They may even occur in higher percentages of the general population than the 4% accepted today as being the total percentage of synesthetes: some studies have estimated that around 15% of the general population might experience some degree of spatial sequencing and over 30% ticker tape, for example, if the weaker forms are included. Research is still needed to determine whether these types occur more strongly in people we would normally consider synesthetes than in other individuals; what percentage of synesthetes have each of these types; and whether we should extend our definition of what a synesthete is or, on the contrary, consider that these types are not actually synesthesia but in fact other phenomena. Until there are sufficient studies to resolve these issues I can only give figures based on my personal impression, which of course is totally subjective. 

This page last updated: 15 August 2021

4 comments:

  1. I have spatial sequence synesthesia and none of the other named kinds, but I have noticed a couple of linkages that I have always thought were universal. Namely 1) mood-memory. access to memories is heavily controlled by the mood you are in now (and were at the time of the memory); and 2)smells-memories-emotions.

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    1. Hi Sally! Yes, smells-memories/emotions is something experienced by everyone (although there are probably big differences between people with regard to the vividness and the extent it affects us (there's a page in the Tree with what I found out about this subject, https://www.thesynesthesiatree.com/2021/03/smell-and-memory-taste-and-prousts.html), and I must say I hadn't heard of moods controlling access to memories before - how fascinating! What do you experience? I don't think it would be linked to synesthesia, but I'd like to know more about it!

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  2. Thanks for this chart -I have “common” and “uncommon”. I participated in a study many years ago and heard about different types of synesthesia for the first time. One type I never knew was synesthesia was one’s body becoming the shape of sound, passages of music (some of this can be movement as response to auditory, but it is also feel my body becoming the actual shape of the sound . Another-My “3” is green and-if I hold up three fingers that looks green -same for White “1” one finger”2” two fingers are brown “4” red -4 fingers are red -it goes as far as 5 for fingers.

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    1. I find what you say to be very interesting! Both those things you mention. Perceiving your body as being the shape of the sound I'd say would fit in somewhere with the proprioception-related aspect of auditory-tactile, and also, as you suggest, with auditory-motor. And seeing your fingers as the colours of your numbers, I don't remember hearing of a case of this before and it's such a good example of how magnitude or numerosity and not just the symbol for the number produce the colour. Looking this up now I can see that there's actually a study on this (Ward/Sagiv), from 2007 (or was that actually the study you took part in?), this one: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6270038_Synaesthesia_for_Finger_Counting_and_Dice_Patterns_A_Case_of_Higher_Synaesthesia
      In any case I'd like to include both the things you say in my descriptions here on the Tree, if that's OK by you!

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