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Capstone project

Mary Bach

on 6 April 2014

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Transcript of Synesthesia

What is Synesthesia?
Synesthesia is a genetic mutation that causes sensory confusion.
Basically, it's a neurological condition where if one sense is triggered, it causes an involuntary experience of another sense

The name comes from the greek word "syn", meaning together, and "aisthesis" meaning perception. The senses are together.

It is similar to the word anesthesia. Because both have the root "sthesia" meaning senses. Anesthesia is a drug that doctors use to stop the senses during surgeries.

There are over 100 different forms of Synesthesia.
What are the symptoms?
Many people don't know that they have Synesthesia until they realize that other people don't have those experiences. They may feel the color yellow or feel that Sunday is just over their right shoulder. In rare cases, they may feel that they are being slapped or punched when they see someone being slapped or punched. The symptoms are different for everyone who has it.
You don't need to worry if you have Synesthesia.

It is not life threatening. Many people that experience these traits that mark Synesthesia find those happenings neutral or pleasurable.

About 4% of the population shows some form of Synesthesia.
The different types
Color Synesthesia
Spacial Sequence
Maya, Kristin, and Mary
There are are many different forms of
Synesthesia that can be shown in many different ways.

Also, there are different levels. Some people have extreme cases while others only have small amounts. It is considered idiosyncratic, meaning that even though two people may have the same kind of Synesthesia, they may experience it in different ways.
i.e., February could be lilac to one person and dark green to another.

Famous Synesthetes
Grapheme Synesthesia is one of the most common kinds of Synesthesia. It is where a single letter or number is perceived as a color.
As shown by studies, Synethesetes have described commonalities with certain letters or numbers. It is common for "a" to be red, and "3" might be purple.

Pat Duffy once said to her father as a child, "I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line."
Some famous people that have had this mutation are...
David Hockney, an English Painter
Billy Joel, Musician
Richard Feynman, Physicist
Nikola Tesla, Inventor
Franz Lizt, Composer
Marilyn Monroe, Famous Actress
This is a special form of the condition where people see number sequences as certain points relating to spatial location .
For example, the number 1 may seem like it is literally farther away than the number 2.
Sound --> color Synesthesia
According to Richard Cytowic, sound to color Synesthesia is when a sound such as a dog barking or voice can cause a color to arise in a shape like a firework. It's also thought that louder noises provoke sharper, brighter colors, and softer sounds make
softer colors.
Ordinal Linguistic Personification or OLP is when things like days, letters, months, weeks, etc. have personalities.
One Synesthete said, ""T’s are generally crabbed, ungenerous creatures. U is a souless sort of thing. 4 is honest, but 3 I cannot trust… 9 is dark, a gentleman, tall and graceful, but politie under his suavity.I [is] a bit of a worrier at times, although easy-going; J [is] male; with strength of character; K [is] female; quiet, responsible..."
Mirror Touch Synesthesia
This is a very rare form of Synesthesia where if this kind of Syesthesete sees someone being touched, they actually feel that same feeling of interaction.

Famous Books
1. A Mango Shaped Space
2. Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds (Paperback)
3. The Man Who Tasted Shapes
Synesthesia Test
Scan the square below. Do you discern any particular shape? What is it? (If you have this particular form of synesthesia, the shape should be quickly apparent. If it takes a while to see, you are probably not a "colors-numbers" synesthete.)
Synesthesia Test
In the Synesthesia Test, you should see a triangle, as depicted below. The 2's appear as colored red, and stand out from the 5's (colored green).
Genetics Behind Synesthesia
How does it occur?
How is it detected?
Synestheisa Test
Is Sunday just over your left shoulder or any other spatial location?

Does 2 seem further away from you than 3 or vice versa?
Are you a Synesthete?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you may have Synesthesia.
If you have no clue what we're saying...
Taste Buds
Synesthesia is detected by some of the tests shown previously in this presentation but in many other ways also. The Synesthesia Battery is the mother of all tests for synethesia. Found at synesthete.org the Synesthesia Battery tests every single from of Synesthesia that is known to man.
Synesthesia can occur in a few different ways...
-Family Trait- 40% of Synesthetes have the gene from a 1st degree relative (mother, father)
- Genetic Mutation- Like all diseases and disorders Synethesia can pop up randomly with no family link

Fun Facts:
Because it is said to be linked to the x chromosome, it is more common in women
Microsoft word thinks that its a misspelled word
Because the British like to add an extra vowel to words, in the UK it is spelled Synaesthesia
Now, we are very good at typing the word Synethesia
Outside Connections
The girl Maya babysits for has sound-color Synesthesia. So, Maya's name is Purple to her.

Do you get the Sense of Synesthesia?
Phillips, Melissa L. "Neuroscience for Kids - Synesthesia." Neuroscience for Kids - Synesthesia. Neuroscience for Kids, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.
"Popular Synesthesia Books." Popular Synesthesia Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.
"Synesthesia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 05 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 May 2013.


"Q & A with David Eagleman about Synesthesia." Q&A with David. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.

"The Synesthesia Battery." The Synesthesia Battery. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.website

"American Synesthesia Association." American Synesthesia Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.website

"Synesthesia." Synesthesia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.website

"Fun Facts - Synesthesia: The Crossing of the Senses-One of the 9 Most Extraordinary Abilities of Humans." Synesthesia: The Crossing of the Senses-One of the 9 Most Extraordinary Abilities of Humans. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013.

"Synesthesia." Neurophilosophy. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2013


Mass, Wendy. A Mango-Shaped Space. New York: Little, Brown, 2003. Print.
Example of a Synethete's Art
Example of Spacial Sequence
More fun
Example of Perception
Another example
Full transcript