What is synesthesia?

I was having trouble trying to think of a blog topic when actually the inspiration for my topic was right next to me. I always thought my roommate was a freak because she related the month of October to a dark blue/grey, or the day Sunday to the color Red. Why would she do this? And what was the explanation for it? Apparently it is actually a real thing and she isn’t just a freak. It’s called Synesthesia. Synesthesia is when your senses form together to collect thoughts and make them into one. For example when you think of a day of the week, number or month your sight senses start to work and your mind thinks of a color immediately.



I couldn’t really find a study that I liked enough to incorporate it into my blog, so I decided to create my own using my roommate! The hypothesis was that if I named a random month, day or number, then she would be able to associate any color with it. In the study the independent variable was the number, month or day I chose, and the dependent variable was the color that she responded with. In the study, you always have to think that she could just be making up answers and playing along, but she claims that she has had this since she was young and that her mother also has had it since she was a child. Here is what I found:

Me: What color do you associate with December?

Roommate: Black

Me: What color do you associate with the number 18?

Roommate: Dark orange

Me: What color do you associate with the month April?

Roommate: Red

Me: What color do you associate with the number 20?

Roommate: Pink/Red

Me: What color do you associate with the month August?

Roommate: Yellow/Orange

Me: What do you associate with today, Thursday, October 20th, 2016?

Roommate: When I read that date it just looks like October, the numbers don’t matter so see a blue/grey

Me: When is it most strong for you?

Roommate: I see the colors most when I think of days of the week. So for example, when I think of everything that I have to do on Sunday everything in my head is red.

Me: Because your mom has this, do you and her associate the same colors with the same things? For example, does she also see red on Sunday?

Roommate: No, me and my mom only see Monday and Tuesday the same

From my study, I concluded that my hypothesis was statistically significant because every question I asked, she was able to come up with a valid answer and color. Although my study was related to months, days and numbers in relation to colors, people who have this can associate with many other things. For example, some people have specific reactions when they hear music or taste something. I found an article that shows how this may have an effect on other people. You can see that Sean Day, PhD, feels things on her body each time she hears a certain instrument. I think it would be interesting to do study on color blind people who have synesthesia. Would they also relate colors to days of the week? Or would they not have that ability?




Synesthesia: When Ordinary Activities Trigger Extraordinary Sensations


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