Imagine if every time you heard a piano playing it felt like someone was massaging your scalp. Or if when you looked at a cat you tasted peanut butter. Or maybe Mondays are bright orange to you. All these things may sound completely wild, but they appear totally normal if you have a condition called synaesthesia.
Synaesthesia is a condition where your brain jumbles up your senses. It’s usually inherited from your parents, but other than that the origins of the condition remain a mystery! People with synaesthesia often don’t even realise that their experience of the world is very different until someone tells them that it is.
Having synaesthesia is like having a superpower, and we all know that every superhero has a different power! There are several variations to synaesthesia, all with their own special traits.
Chromesthesia is where someone associates colours with sounds; they might hear a dog bark and it makes them think of the colour red. People with chromesthesia often have pitch-perfect hearing.
Those with grapheme-colour synaesthesia will see letters or numbers in certain colours. If they were to look at a page with a bunch of ones and twos jumbled together, they’d be able to pick out each number immediately, as they’d each appear in a separate colour.
People with spatial-sequence synaesthesia can see numerical sequences as points in space, which would be like seeing the year ahead as a three-dimensional map.
One of the most fascinating forms of synaesthesia is mirror-touch synaesthesia. This is where you can perceive someone else’s feelings just by looking at them! It’s no surprise that people with this (almost) mind-reading power have great empathy.