Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Search Challenge (July 13, 2011): Is synesthesia consistent across people?

This question came up in discussion at work this week... 

Of all the perceptual phenomena the flesh is heir to, one of the most puzzling and insightful effects is synesthesia.  This is the condition where people perceive one property when sensing something else.  One common form is grapheme-color synesthesia, when the synesthete (i.e., a person with this condition) sees a letter in particular color.  
The search challenge for this week is this: 

     Do all synesthetes see color/letter pairs consistently?   

     (Or, more generally, do all synesthetes of a particular kind have the same 
       perceptions across individuals?)  

That is, if you have 10 synesthetes, will they all see the letter "a" in red?  Or will there be 10 different perceptions?  For instance would you see it in green, I see it in cornflower blue, while Bob sees it in yellow?  

Just wondering! 

Search on.  


  1. says "Though the perceived color of the numbers varies between synesthetes...."; I would assume the same is true with letters.

    Search path: [synthesia consistency]; the first hit was the site I wanted, though I had to back up to the home page and read a couple of pages before finding the quote to answer the question.

    Fun topic!

  2. My query was [is synesthesia consistent across synesthetes] and found a paper called Binding of Graphemes and Synesthetic Colors in Color-Graphemic Synesthesia and found that "color-graphemic pairings differ widely across synesthetes."