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Who created this site and why

     



Hi!

I’m Pau 365. I live in Seville, Spain. In December 2016 I found out I had synesthesia and since then I’ve spent a lot of my time researching and studying this fascinating subject.


In 2018 (about two-and-a-half years ago now), after studying it in depth, meeting synesthetes and researchers at the International Congress of Synesthesia, Science & Art held here in Andalusia that year and creating and running a workshop on the subject along with a psychologist friend, I decided that my next project would be to discover a way of ordering and classifying the different types of synesthesia, an aspect I was particularly interested in.


There are a lot of types of synesthesia. In fact, no one actually knows how many there are. It all depends on how you categorise them and what you consider synesthesia and what you don’t. (Go to the page Why it is impossible to say how many types of synesthesia there are?) Anyway, I thought I’d have a go at constructing a kind of “family tree” of as many different types of synesthesia as I was aware of at that point.


But what started out as a “tree” in the classic sense of taking a big piece of paper and drawing a diagram on it with its trunk and its branches, its roots and leaves, its flowers, fruit, twigs, buds, boughs, its nodes and offshoots, divisions and deviations… OK, you can get a pretty good idea of how complicated that turned out to be. And it would certainly never fit on a piece of paper, or even on the wall of a building, probably. But I liked the idea and I didn’t give up, and one day it suddenly dawned on me that I could do it as a website. A site for people to consult if they’re interested in a particular type of synesthesia or would like to know if they have it or not, a site with multiple links to get you to what you’re looking for by a variety of routes, no limit on the number of pages, no time constraints in setting it up… and that was when the Tree was first planted and started to grow. Now it’s complete, and with over a hundred pages on different aspects and types of synesthesia and other phenomena that can sometimes be confused with it, I’ve really learnt a lot and it turned out to be the ideal project to dedicate my time to in 2020-21, during these strange social-life-less, stay-at-home months.


I created the Spanish version of the site first (El Árbol de la Sinestesia), and it saw the light in early February 2021. I always intended for there to be an English version too as that would open it up to many more people. Luckily I happen to be a professional translator and like what I do, so adapting it to the English version was a challenge that I really enjoyed.


I think my main aim in making the Synesthesia Tree is to fill a gap, as up to know there hasn’t been a list available for consultation like this one, with a large number of types and subtypes of synesthesia each linked to a reasonably detailed specific description and with examples of real cases. I think a lot of people are looking for a list like this and I hope they find it and it’s useful to them.


Who is the Synesthesia Tree for?


Many people are synesthetes and don’t know it, and they’re looking for explanations of these things that have always been part of their lives but that others don’t quite seem to understand.


Some people experience different phenomena and want to know whether these are synesthesia or something else.


Some people who already know they are synesthetes would like to know if they have more types.


Researchers sometimes need starting points to approach types that are little studied or scarcely known.


And there are of course people who just have an interest in this fascinating subject.


The Synesthesia Tree is intended for consultation by all these people and more. I’ve attempted to pitch the site at all of them, which is obviously not an easy task, but I hope that as far as possible the information I’m presenting here turns out to be useful, reader-friendly, understandable and also scientifically accurate (very important, that last aspect).


I’ve enjoyed just about every minute I’ve spent creating the Synesthesia Tree: researching, chatting online with other synesthetes, reading, writing, translating, taking the photographs and creating the compositions to illustrate the posts and, more than anything else, learning: learning something every single day. Making sense of things I already knew, things I was vaguely aware of but unsure, and things I had no idea even existed. And if I can share that enjoyment and that knowledge with other people now… well that’s my mission accomplished.


My idea is for this to be a site in constant expansion and I hope to keep on improving it by adding new aspects of interest, correcting my mistakes and including the ideas and help I’ll perhaps receive from readers via email or the comments section on each page. So please comment or email me: any observations or questions are more than welcome! There’s also a Do I Have Synesthesia page, if anyone wants to explain their particular case and ask.


Thank you for reading this, and remember I’d be delighted to read about your experiences with synesthesia in the comments.


Pau

(also known as Pau 365, Pau Tres Seis Cinco, Pau Sandham or Paula Sandham Burns)

4 comments:

  1. Wow, great that sites were made in both Spanish and English! Such an excellent resource!

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  2. This is an excellent starting point for newly discovered synesthetes like me. I am grateful for all your hard work. Have you found or heard of a type that I call ""visual-tactile"? I feel movements that I visually see, whether it's a bird soaring above or a car driving by, similar to the auditory-tactile type of feeling sounds.

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    1. Thank you and I'm really pleased the site is useful!

      The closest thing I have to what you describe is Machine Empathy, when people feel the movements of inanimate objects like machines, vehicles, robots and other human-like and non-human-like objects in their own body, as if they were making the movements, and Mirror Kinetics, when movement/mirror physical sensations are felt on seeing other people move. But I don't think I've got anything about animals/birds in either of them, I only have animals in Mirror-Touch, so it's time to add that!

      Also what you're describing is different from those types I think, because you say the sensations are similar to auditory-tactile, rather than mirroring the actual movement in some way, is that right? I'm curious to find out more... what kind of physical sensations do you get? Could you give some examples? Is it always with movement or do you get them from static shapes or objects too?

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