What is synesthesia?

Synesthesia is the name of one of the most studied concepts in history, apeculiar condition of the brain (and at the mental level) where aninterconnection with the sensory modalities of the human being is created.

What does this mean? For example,someone can smell sounds, taste colorations in numbers, among many other connections. The sensesof smell, taste or touch are involved, including the perception of sounds.

The concepts linked to the phenomenon of synesthesia, have been studied over the years, with a lot of historical information, beinga rather strange but fascinating condition, whose origins, although uncertain, are theorized to be for biological reasons with genetic bases. However, the news of synesthesia has not become so big in today’s culture.

Important: As studied in an investigation of a faculty, it is mentioned that“The probability that genetics contributes to the development of synesthesia is very high. It’s not tied to feelings or mental problems.” (1)

What causes synesthesia?

This strange phenomenon of synesthesia, has certain causes cited in various investigations, with correct bases and that is identified by a specific sensation. We present the main and most relevant causes.

1. Unusual connection between areas of the brain

Mainly, it is striking that sensory connections areinterconnected creating rare situations (reason for receiving other types of information and meaning).

The unusual connectionmay be due to convulsive factors or disordersin certain cases, others have been based on theories of crossed brain wires, as cited by scientists such as Ramachandran and Hubbard (creators ofthe book Phenomenology of synesthesiawith amodel of local interconnection, is a reading with great content of part to synesthesia).

Note: A study mentions that “The fact that two cortical regions such as V4 and the grapheme processing zone are physically close increases the probability of neuronal communication between them.” (2)

2. Different brain structuring

Anabnormality in the brain structure cannot be ruled out, as a cause of synesthesia, which also affects their motor functions.

The abnormal structure may be due to factors andgenetic content or malformations during pregnancy (either by pathologies on the X chromosome or information of the genetic content).

Important: Thanks to the results of several investigations, it is known that “many of the changes related to the brain can result from an interaction with the environment and biology, including genetic aspects”. (3)

3. Family genetics

Genetic inheritance or genetic information can be a factor of great capacity for synesthetic people or other pathologies related to sensation or stimuli.

Although they are not easy to determine , the genetic transfer of diseases or morphological anomalies can be quite uncertain, like a bold bet, however, thanks to medical advances, they can be predicted by having a family history regarding the synesthetic case or a case of an individual with synesthesia.

4. Psychotropic substances

The abuse of psychotropic substances or drugs with a high degree of risk, can alter motor functions and important connections, causing sudden synesthesia.

These substances contain quite strong chemicals, capable of altering brain functions for the most part, even causing memory loss and in the event that synesthesia does not exist, other problems such as strokes can be found.

To highlight: The most consumed psychotropic substances are alcohol, the drug LSD and cocaine.

How to know if a person is synesthetic?

It must be remembered that a synesthetic individual does not suffer from this as a disease or as a psychological problem, it is a phenomenon that occurs within the connections that exist in the cerebral cables, therefore recognizing if someone suffers from synesthesia is relatively easy. , for its sensations and the mixture in the perception of senses.

What are the processes to identify it? to recognize synesthesia,the only need is to feel smells in colors and even feel noises with them, it is a way of confirming it.

Note: At greater depth, a physical space can be felt with colors or numbers (it is more relevant with days and months) and link the aroma with a tactile sensation.

types of synesthesia

The word synesthesia is quite wide, there are various types of this phenomenon, the information content of which is complex with different associations, collected in various experiences.

Here we present the best known and most relevant Synesthetic Styles :

1. Grapheme-color

It is the most common and occurs in 49% of synesthetic individuals. For example, it is about seeing shades of colors in words, numbers and letters separately. This is quite relevant in synesthesia, usually referring to different sensations.

Note: It is related to the sensation of sight reported in one or another experience.

2. Sound-color

It is peculiar but it covers 20% or more of synesthetic people , hearing is important for this, the simplest example is where seeing colors or shapes through sounds (even in music) is associated.

To highlight:Much has been said about this in synesthesia issues. It is attached to the ear.

3. Person-color

It is peculiar, where the color is usually assimilated or compared with a person,Be it an acquaintance or even ourselves. Like saying that the color red reminds us of a serene and strong person, while blue is of a person we know calm and quiet, something personal.It is related to the perception of sight.

4. Dance-color

Here it is expanded with music and color, it is something relevant in artists, musicians and dancers , where they are able to witness colors through specific or folkloric dances, it could be said that flamenco dance is imagined and felt with the color red or orange .

Note: In the field of music, the color image is also mixed through the transmitted sounds.

5. Lexicon-taste

It does not exceed 5% of the population of people with synesthesia, this is its name because it is about obtaining the ability to taste words,for example saying that the color red tastes like pepper and cheese, among other quite rare experiences. It is related to smell (by smell), taste and sight.

6. Space-time

It is where synesthetic people create a strong connection to space and time. It is said, in various experiences, that time is perceived as a figure or a physical presence and time as an icon or an object with a size and shape.

7. Touch-mirror

This is a great psychological study, especially on the subject of people with synesthesia, where people say they have the ability to feel a stimulus ( physically) what others feel, it is like saying that people understand your problems or your feelings without being in your body.

To highlight: In other cases, what the other person eats or touches, we would also feel it.

8. Touch-emotion

It is the type of synesthesia, where an effect of emotions is felt by contact with surfaces of various textures, causing a satisfactory sensation.

It is also valid with the contact of material objects (with different textures), such as the deep relationship of a musician with his instruments that cause him intense emotions.

9. Personification

It is one of the most curious stimuli and occurs in a very low percentage that does not exceed 10% of the population with synesthesia, there is little content of this type of information.

It is about adding personalities or having a certain perception of them, in a certain color or number, such as saying that 3 is a feminine and friendly number or that a letter of a word is soft and safe. It is one of the most interesting senses.

Note: But not only to numbers and letters, but also to colors, works or immaterial objects as some people describe it, depending on their perception.

Key Findings

  • Synesthesia is the quality that occurs in sensory functions.
  • Synesthesia is caused by crossing over of neural connections , as well as somewhat altered genetic factors.
  • A synesthetic individual is easy to recognize, through the peculiar sensation or a different stimulus, related to colors and smell.
  • There are 9 types of synesthesia currently known in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *