Have you ever thought of colouring the names of days of the week? Or perhaps Mozart’s music tastes like an apple pie to you? If such experiences seem familiar to you, it is very likely that you have synesthetic skills.
The term synaesthesia stands for the unity of experience. It comes from a combination of two Greek stems: syn (sharing) and aisthesis (feeling, perception).
There are several types of synesthesia. The grapheme-colour synesthesia causes some vision of words or single letters (or numbers) in specific colours. Synesthetes who have the type of phoneme-colour type, adjust colours to auditory sensations. In turn, grapheme/phoneme-flavour synesthesia means experience of taste induced by visual or auditory experience.
Synesthesia is not a popular phenomenon. It is an innate ability and it occurs only once in twenty thousand people. Very often, such people have artistic talents. For instance, composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Franz Liszt belonged to the group of well-known synesthetes.
As implies from research, it is likely that synesthesia occurs in everyone to the third month of life. According to Daphne du Maurier, combination of senses helps a child to adapt to the new, alien world. Although our senses usually start to function separately later on as we develop, it happens that this ability does not disappear and remains forever in certain individuals.
Synesthesia takes place automatically – the impressions created by it are simple, uncomplicated in their form, the resultant images seem to be very vivid, clear and easy to restore, and the feelings associated with a given thing remain the same for life. If you think you have such abilities, you can find out whether you really are a synesthete – there is a website on which you can take a test on having synesthesia: http://www.synesthete.org/.