Tag Archives: synesthesia

Synesthesia – Seeing Numbers in Color

Synesthesia – Seeing Numbers in ColorIt is said that the brain separates creativity and logic. How we view and interpret color operates in one side of the brain and processing numbers exists in the other. But when colors and numbers collide, what is the outcome? Could it be color synesthesia – a condition in the brain that makes a person associate certain numbers with distinct colors?

What is Color Synesthesia?

Known as grapheme, color synesthesia occurs in people who, when thinking of numbers, attach colors to those digits. Usually, once a number is given a color, it does not change. For instance, if the number (5) is shaded green, it will likely always be experienced that way.

This is an extremely rare phenomenon that only exists in one percent of the population. Some of the people who live with grapheme consider themselves lucky. Lani Metoyer wrote on related website, “It’s pleasant to see radiant colors as I type or read.”

A Pleasant Neurological Condition

No matter how enjoyable it seems, grapheme is a neurological condition. Even though all people connect numbers and colors to certain degrees, people with color synesthesia take this to a new level. Having over excitable brain functions, they only need about one third of the stimulation a person without the condition needs to experience light flashes, which ultimately reflects colors in places others don’t see.

Most people who have color synesthesia don’t seem to mind the condition. Doctors and neuroscientists often appreciate the insight this population has. Oxford neuroscientist Dr. Terhune says studying people who have grapheme allows for “some interesting insight into how cortical excitability may be related to conscious awareness.”

Take a Color Synesthesia Assessment

Because color synesthesia is so rare, it is common for people to overlook it or keep their symptoms quiet. In reality, it is nothing to feel shame about. Living with this condition allows a person to see the world through vibrant colors that others can never experience.

Take this assessment from http://www.synthesiastest.org/ to see if grapheme colors your world in unique ways.

grapheme color synesthesia

Read more Segmation blog posts about Color and Science:

Artistic Characteristics of the Right Brain and Left Brain

Photography: Black and White or in Living Colors

The Many Different Hues of Blue

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Can You Be Taught to Read in Color?

There are some individuals who read in color — these people have grapheme-color synesthesia. With grapheme-color synesthesia, each letter appears as a certain color. This can seem like a foreign concept to the majority of us that read in black white, but for those with this condition, it is common and pleasurable. It is estimated that about 1 percent of individuals have grapheme-color synesthesia and 4 percent have synesthesia (to some degree). Most people with these conditions enjoy seeing color in “odd” places.

It is not uncommon to hear someone comment that he or she would love to have synesthesia. This is because the condition is not harmful to people and it can make life more interesting, to say the least. Artists, especially, may benefit from this condition. It has long been believed that individuals are simply born with synesthesia. But today, researchers are beginning to question that assumption.

Can a person be taught to see letters in color? That’s the question the University of Amsterdam researchers asked when they conducted a study on people who did not have grapheme-color synesthesia. The study’s participants were given books that contained colored text letters (the letters were sporadically colored). What was the result of the study? After reading the books with colored letters, individuals without grapheme-color synesthesia “associated those letters with the correlating hues.” This is amazing news that indicates synesthesia may have a slight capacity to be taught.

The study at the University of Amsterdam had beneficial effects upon its participants. One participant began enjoying the color orange post study. Two individuals reported they read faster after reading the books with colored letters.

Is it true that synesthesia is simply genetic? That is a tough question for researchers to answer. On one hand, it’s not uncommon for members of the same biological family to have synesthesia. But on the other, it’s a fact that one is not born with language skills; he or she learns them. While it has not been proven that synesthesia can be taught, researchers are definitely doing further study into the possibility of learned synesthesia and its benefits upon individuals. Many people would take advantage of the opportunity to learn synesthesia and read in vibrant color.

Source: http://nbcnews.to/U9Jyfe

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