see what I mean? YUK! I remember an episode of Tomorrow's World from many many years back (I know, I know, the phrase "more than I care to remember" comes to mind. . .) about how we're conditioned not to go for blue food. . .
such sweet little bottles)
and that made me think, "what would green taste like?" which for some reason reminded me of the Girl Guide's favourite, swarfega:
green would taste TOTALLY vile)
anyhoo, so all of that kind of got me thinking about synesthesia. . .
you know, where one's senses are linked in unusual ways. . . such that letters have a colour, words can have a smell, music can taste. . .
ok, perhaps we'll go with a more scientificky explanation here: "synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway" (still with me?) (up for some more of the scientificky stuff?)
idiopathic (or developmental) synesthesia arises naturally, with no influence from an external agent and no brain abnormality - so, medically speaking, there is nothing to "treat"; some scientists think that synesthesia may actually be a normal brain process that simply fails to reach consciousness in most individuals. . .
five clinical features define idiopathic synesthesia, being that it is: (1) involuntary and automatic, (2) spatially extended, (3) durable and generic, (4) memorable, and (5) affect-laden (ooh! this is taking me back to my not-quite PhD days!!)
there are many many different types of synesthesia, and it goes beyond a simple combination of senses
out of 365 synesthetes, a study found that 66.8% experienced coloured graphemes (a language's written units: letters/numbers) - but only 9.6% coloured phonemes. . . (see, the Speech Scientist in me does wonder why there isn't a greater phoneme issue, I mean a written "s" can sound like a spoken "z", and what about the combination of "t+h" which equals two different pronunciations of "th" [confused? think about the different ways you can pronounce "the"]; which brings to mind the science of linguistics and psycholinguistics, but that's a whole other kettle of fish)
anyhoo, back to the colour of letters and numbers. . . not every synesthete will see the same colour. . .
months in a year. . .
the stats go on and on about all the various combinations: coloured general sounds, 12.1%; coloured personalities, 4.4%; coloured tastes (which is what got me started in all this!) 6.3%; coloured pain (ouch!) 4.4%; colored odours, 5.8%; coloured temperature, 2.2%; coloured touch, 1.9%; sound to touch, 2.7%; sound to taste, 2.7%; sound to smell, 1.1%; sound to temperature, 0.5%; taste to hearing, 0.3%; taste to touch, 1.1%; touch to taste, 0.5%, touch to smell, 0.3%; touch to hearing, 0.5%; vision to taste, 1.9%; vision to hearing, 1.1%; vision to smell, 1.1%; vision to touch, 0.8%; smell to sound, 0.3%; smell to touch, 1.1%. . .
can you image if someone's touch smelt like grilled kippers. . . or the smell of vanilla sounded like a kettle drum. . . or the sound of a guitar riff was cold. . . a great cup of coffee makes me smile - but I don't think I'm a synesthete!
this is one lecture I'd liked to have gone to: