Synesthesia: Seeing Colors

What color are the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters A through Z?

This question will strike many as odd. After all, numbers and letters are usually black, and if they're colored, it's usually in an arbitrary fashion. But what if I told you that the number 2 is green, 4 is blue, 5 is red, C is yellow, and T is purple? You'd probably think I'm insane, but I'm not: I simply experience a phenomenon known as "synesthesia."

Here's a picture of what I mean. Note that the colors are approximate; some of the colors I "see" cannot be reproduced on the screen. Also note that someone else's colors will likely be completely different from mine.


According to Wikipedia, synesthesia "is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway." In other words, people who experience synesthesia associate one stimulus with something that seems unrelated – like seeing each letter and number as having a specific color, seeing the numbers in different spatial locations, or "seeing" music.

Discovering synesthesia

I have associated colors with letters/numbers – grapheme-color synesthesia – for as long as I can remember. At first, I thought it was normal, but when everyone I mentioned this to just stared at me with a blank look, I realized that I had an unusual quality. It wasn't until recently that I actually found out that this phenomenon was called "synesthesia". After that, I realized that I had more forms of synesthesia than just grapheme-color.

What forms of synesthesia do I have?

My most prevalent form is grapheme-color synesthesia, which involves me associating a color with each letter. The interesting thing about my variant of it is that the color is usually associated with the form of the letter and not the sound. The English letter "B" and the Russian letter "В" (which has a "V" sound) are of the same color because they look identical, while the Russian letter "Б" (which has a "B" sound) has a different color. (Technical note: be sure to set your page's encoding to Unicode (UTF-8) to properly see the Russian characters.)

Another form is something I don't know the scientific name of but refer to as "spatial location synesthesia." This involves the number line for me, as well as the alphabet. It is difficult to explain, but I see the number 0 at the beginning of a real, physical sidewalk I walked down regularly as a young child; 20 is farther along this path, and 100 is even farther along, although the higher the numbers get, the more abstract the path becomes.

The alphabet is similarly seen as being above the whiteboard in my first grade classroom. A problem I have, though, is with months; I seem to have remembered the row of months in my classroom as well, with January on the far left and December on the far right, so I always think of months as being linear. This is quite inconvenient since I need to manually count 6 months down in order to figure out what the "opposite" time is. The interesting thing about the last 3 examples is that these seem to be learned stimuli – unlike the grapheme-color synesthesia where colors have been assigned since birth more or less (or so I say), I have actually seen the aforementioned items in real life.

Association of concepts

Someone once asked me a very good question:

If you see A as being red, what would happen if someone put a black "A" on a red background? Would the letter "disappear"?

The simple answer is "no." But to see why, we need to delve deeper into the concept of "color" in the first place.

"Color" is not a wavelength; rather, it is a concept which is associated with a certain stimulus, namely a certain wavelength of light entering the eye. Note that pure yellow light and a combination of red + green light are both associated with the color "yellow" in the brain. This also allows for the existence of colors that our eyes can never see; some of the colors of letters I see aren't reproducible on a computer screen.

Text is inherently colorless; this is why we are able to read black text on a white page and large red text on a blue billboard and get the same meaning out of it. But the synesthetic association with colors happens AFTER the textual processing takes place. Since the text itself carries no color information, the black letter A and red background it's rendered on are not present when the text is stored in the brain as such, there simply is no "red background" behind the red letter A.

Spelling genius

You're probably thinking, "so, this is cool and all... but what is it good for?" Many things, actually. If you have synesthesia, you grow to appreciate the many small ways in which it helps you in your daily life.

I won first place in my junior high school's spelling bee in 7th grade, and I won third place in regional (just google my name). I've also been good at spelling, and particularly good about noticing proper spellings of certain similar-sounding words. I later realized that this was, in part, due to my synesthesia.

Let's take a common grammatical issue people have: "than" versus "then".

than versus then

The distinct color difference between "a" and "e", which is also remembered along with the word and its meaning, ensures that I will almost never mix up similar-sounding words. (Try to unfocus your eyes until you see each word as a blob of color, and notice how they look quite different even because of one letter.)

Practical applications of synesthesia

The concept of synesthesia can be applied to various things. Artificial synesthesia can be used for improving the usability of a user interface, or can even be used to prevent IDN homograph attacks (a method of phishing that replaces the letter "e" in "" with its Cyrillic equivalent, for example, thus fooling the unsuspecting visitor into revealing personal information to a fake site). This would work if all similar-looking letters were colored differently; people would thus memorize the "color" of the URL as well as the name, and would be suspicious of improperly colored URLs. The two downsides of this is that it is difficult to standardize the colors, and it would drive us synesthetes crazy since our colors would end up being different.

How do people get it?

Apparently, synesthesia runs in families. Both of my parents report some sort of synesthetic experiences – from a spatial number map to "seeing" different colors of music. In my experience, some forms of it (like each number having a color) came "naturally", while other forms (the number line being associated with a location) have their roots in events that happened in my childhood.

Synesthetes unite!

Do you experience any form of synesthesia, or do you know someone who does? Please state your experiences here... I would really like to know how others see things!

Posted on Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

Comments (112)

Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:22 PM
I see "shadows" of color associated with type, but it's not so much "seeing" as "feeling" colors. Impossible to describe.
I see months in position on an oval, as if I were on a race track. It must have something to do with a childhood concept of elliptical orbit. I always have an image in my brain of where I am on the oval.
I remember entire sequences of events when I look at paintings I have done. When I look at a certain section, I can "hear" the music I was listening to, "smell" aromas that were in the place where I was painting and "hear" conversations that were taking place at that time, sometimes word for word. Not sure that's synesthesia, but it's a close runner-up if it isn't.
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Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:38 AM
@Deborah Vriesen Thanks for your input.

Synesthesia varies widely from person to person. Some people more or less see the color on the page, but others (like me) simply associate the colors later. I see a black letter "A" in front of me, but I think the same thing that I think when I see something I describe as "red".

As far as remembering the sequence of events, it's some sort of recall in your brain. I'm sure it has some term, but I'm a techie, not a psychologist, so I can't really tell you what it's called.
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Concerned Girlfriend
Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 6:56 PM
Has anyone ever heard of synesthesia that disappears? My boyfriend has only within the past year addressed his synesthesia (although he has always known about it), and it has within the last hour completely disappeared. He claims he experienced an overwhelming headache and after it suddenly stopped, his colours were gone.
He has been suffering from a swollen vein in his skull, induced by stress. He is taking medication for this problem, including anti-inflammatories and steroids.
He is completely destroyed, and my heart's breaking for him. I don't know the name of his type of synesthesia, but he sees colours when he hears sounds, and associates colours to certain thoughts. My voice, for example, is light blue with gold in the middle, and thoughts of me are the same colours. He has exceptional audio perception.
If anyone can offer information on why his synesthesia could have disappeared and if he may ever get it back, please contact me. Thank you.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM
@Concerned Girlfriend I'm no expert... but I do know that synesthesia is caused by various regions of the brain being unusually "linked" to each other, and the fact that he lost his synesthesia after experiencing a headache suggests that the link was severed.

Don't take my word for it though. Ask a doctor or psychologist for an official explanation.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM
@Concerned Girlfriend
I've had synesthesia for as long as I can remember. I've "seen" sounds/music, voices and names have colors, a few smells have a color, and if I'm in pain, everything is tinted teal, and if I'm tickled, then bright flashes of light appear everywhere. A little over a year ago, I suffered from a concussion and slowly lost my ability to see names and voices. Lately, I've been dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of my best friend. All traces of Synesthesia have disappeared. Although you've probably figured out what's going on with your boyfriend, because this was several months ago, I have no idea what's going on. If you have any information, please share :) I feel empty and alone without my synesthesia.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 5:31 PM
For a long time, I thought everyone associated specific colors with numbers/letters. To me it just seemed so natural that their distinct personalities would be color-coded. It wasn't until I went to college and wrote an Oral Interpretation class paper about a classmate's voice that I began to realize that experiencing voices as color/texture wasn't common. My fellow classmates during discussion were polite, but as many others have described, blank-faced when it came to understanding what I meant. Oh well, I enjoy it.
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Llamas, i dont feel comfortable using my real name
Monday, January 17, 2011 at 1:43 AM
I can see the color of people's voices. I don't know how it happened, but I've always been able too. It's fascinated my friends and family, and even though I know other people have it, it's still reassuring to read that others do.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM
What color is my name to you?
My name is Lara
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Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 12:29 AM
@ Lara

All together, Lara is black. Separate letters: L is light purple, A is pale yellow, and R is a dark rust/brick red.
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Friday, March 4, 2011 at 7:05 PM
@Lara Lara
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Friday, March 18, 2011 at 8:25 AM
L is a pale green, A is orange, R is a sort of red-violet, like a berry-flavored fruitpop.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 1:27 AM
@Deborah Vriesen WOW Deborah I am exactly the same! notes/music and things feel like a certain color and the months are def oval notes can also taste. I played a chord on the piano and it was light blue with a sweet taste of almost apple...
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM
To me, colors have personalities and sometimes genders. Mustard yellow is tough, blunt, and male, while black is suave, slightly emotionless, and female. Lavender is a quiet, peaceful little girl. Is there anyone else with this type of synesthesia?

...Also, what colors are the names Atiya, Emily, Alana, and Casey?
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 11:58 PM
@Atiya I'm pretty sure there are others who have that -- it's just not the most common form. Theoretically, any senses can be "mingled".

Here are the names:



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Rex Downham
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 12:00 AM
I've noticed this for years and just thought it was 'acid flashbacks'. i seem to get a more random pattern of colors throughout the black text. A whole word will sometimes present itself as blue, or just the first letter in a word will be purple. sometimes the word is multi-colored, and will animate the colors. Sometimes a word that is bold will present itself totally as dark or medium blue, or an ugly, dark purple. Green letters and words are also quite common.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 5:36 AM
my daughter has ths and sees A as red,B as blue C as red D as blue E is yellow etc and Z as grey,aslo the same wth numbers,ths seems quite common.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Hi, I personally have always thought of months, years, days of the week, music and dances as colours and have only just realised that not everyone does it and that I may have synesthesia.
Although it sounds like I do have it, if someone asked me what coliour there name was it would be black as I just see the individual letters as there colours? Does this mean I have synesthesia still? I'm pretty sure I do as when I explain it to people and they to look at me blankly I can't understand how they must think?
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 6:15 PM
Yes, that means you have it. Definitely. Just because you don't see full words as colors doesn't mean you don't have it.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM
Um. I'm not quite sure what this is, but I got into a car accident and received head tramua. Now I see voices. Different voices have different colors and patterns. I'm not sure if it's synesthesia, but I'm getting really scared because sometimes the colors are to much and I start to twitch a lot. I don't want to tell my parents because I don't want to go on medication or anything.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 10:25 PM

I experience voices in terms of color/texture as well, but no twitching. Medication would suck, but then so would a stroke. Maybe medication in the short-term wouldn't be so bad, compared to long-term damage.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:21 AM
The 'L's and 'S's are distinctly red today, but on Facebook, the grouping of 'Lik' in 'Like' is blue, solid blue.
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Friday, January 20, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I see months and time in color. Like 3:00 p.m is a crimson red, but 4:00 p.m is like a pale icy blue. I only recently realized that not many people think this way, and are often surprised when I tell them. They react the most to how naturally I can tell them the color of the month or time they're asking me because of how quickly I respond.

But I also see gradations of color. Like the alphabet starts at "A", which in my mind starts as a pale yellow. The middle of the alphabet, say "M", is like a rusty brown, and the end of it, with "Z" comes to grayish blue. But no letter really has a color. It more of a black letter against a background of color. Numbers work the same way with the background of color as well as days of the week.

I wonder what it all means!!
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Friday, January 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Oh I also see time periods in color. Like decades or centuries. Like the 80's is a dark purplish grey, and the 17th century is a stingy greenish yellow. Weird!
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Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 3:02 PM
I do not have synesthesia, i am just curious to know if the color of numbers and letters changes as you grow older or always stays same? Thanks
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Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 3:25 PM
I see people/personalities as colour associations. I sometimes feel mildly uncomfortable if a person wears a colour that isn't "them". I also see letters, numbers, months, days of the week with colour associations. I see music as a pictograph, which has greatly helped in my ability to play music by ear. I visualize math concepts. I see maps in my head when I am driving somewhere, and feel lost if I can't visualize that map. My memory goes back to baby days, like a video replay.. Smells can vividly bring back memories.
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Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM
@Chris They've been the same as long as I can remember.

@Ayala That's really cool!
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:56 AM
I see the days of the week in color: Monday is red, Tuesday is bluish-green, Wednesday is yellowish-orange, Thursday is pine-green, and Friday is yellow. I also see the colors of people's personalities. My best friend is blue, like me, but when I was younger I didn't like her other friends because they weren't blue.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:59 AM
Lara: the L is orange, the a's are reddish-pink, and the r is a dark shade of fiery red.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM
@Kalia I also see the days of the week in color:

BTW you can use the [color] tag to actually make the text change colors.
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Friday, March 2, 2012 at 2:11 AM
Ok so I came across this because my daughter who is 7 now keeps telling me that she sees letters as colors but she can't name the colors ? I thought it was just her imagination or something also with this can u see words but can't make them come out the way you see tem because she says that all the time too :/ I'm really worried now what exactly do I say to a doctor?
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Friday, March 2, 2012 at 2:16 AM
@Alicia Don't worry, it's not a disease -- but if it's so strong that it prevents her from focusing/learning, I'd suggest talking to someone more experienced.
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Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 12:31 AM
My son sees the months of the year in different colors in an oval shape. He thought everyone saw the months this way until we were watching Medical Mysteries on TV one night and he said "hey, I have that"! It was weird to realize that he had this. We didn't even know about it until he was in his late teens.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 5:03 AM
I have been searching for the name of this for a while, glad to have it now. I associate every single thing in the world with a colour, but apart from letters, numbers and months, the colours I see have to do with the emotion or physical feeling I relate to a thing. I see what is meant by synesthesia being useful, as I can remember important dates or names by their colours. Also, is it unusual that i cannot see the red writing on blue unless i study each indiviaual letter?
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Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 2:09 PM
Haha I also have this. It just came naturally when I was a child?

1 - transparant/white
2 - yellow
3 - lightblue
4 - orange
5 - lightgreen
6 - red
7 - light purple
8 - dark purple
9 - old pink

I also have this with letters, I just never really 'noticed' until I read this.. that's probably why I like names with both an 'a' and an 'i', because they're red and yellow in my mind, which is pretty. :D haha
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Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM
Always been the same for me since I was only a tiny child haha. @Chris
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Monday, April 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM
I'm a 13 year old 7th grader, and I've know I was different since I was about eight. Me and my mom were driving to the store and I just blurted out "Don't you think 'A' is the prettiest because it's yellow?" All I got was a blank stare. I guess she brushed it off until last year when she got me a book called "A Mango Shaped Space" By Wendy Mass. I was about a girl with synesthesia. After I read it I told her "Hey this is what I see too!" and then we knew. I associate colors with letters, sounds, music, months, words, names, shapes, weekdays, seasons, and lots more. And the four seasons have distinct smells for me..also I can taste places (ex. I'll put an apple slice in my mouth and say "This tastes like seattle.")...I really love being a synesthete and I can't imagine my life without synesthesia.
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Monday, April 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM
@kalie Synesthesia as a whole is "unusual" in its own right, and the fact that everyone experiences it differently is perfectly normal. That's pretty interesting though, since text to me is "colorless" until AFTER the brain has read it -- then the synesthetic colors get associated.

@Tiny I don't even remember when I first noticed it, but it did seem natural to me at first and I didn't realize anything was unusual.

@Sami I agree. Synesthesia is awesome. Albeit mine isn't as strong as yours.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 5:42 PM
Yeah syn is awesome, And i looove to answer questions that my friends have about it, but i dont exactly enjoy telling name colors...just becasue idk its like my brain is slow with those i always have to think for a minute before i determine what color(s) their names are, and its exhausting.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Does anyone know what percentage of people experience synesthesia?
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Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM
I have an synthesthetic friend who said my singing voice is a powder blue (wikipedia has a picture that she says is the exact same) what does this mean?
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Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 3:56 PM
@Victoria I believe it's up to 0.5% but don't quote me on that.

@Arianna It doesn't really mean anything -- it just means he/she associates your voice with a color, namely powder blue.
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Monday, May 7, 2012 at 9:24 PM
@Victoria 4%
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Monday, May 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM
hiya, i've only recently realised that seeing colours for different letters/months/days and sometimes words is not something that everyone has and is indeed a form of synesthesia (funnily enough i have known about this condition for some time but hadn't realised that i have it). what i find strange is that some letters/words' colours are very solid and don't change but others are very 'fluid', if you will, and change too quickly for me to recognise a colour. it feels as if i don't have the vocabulary to describe the colour or rather feeling for these letters. also the more complex the time word (i'm not sure what else to call but i mean days, months and years) the harder it is to identify the colour. even though 'june' has less letters than 'friday' it has a larger mass because it is a bigger time period than 'friday'. i'm just wondering, if anyone else has the same experience as i do?
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 8:58 PM
@Anice That's really cool! I don't have the same experience but I understand what you mean by a word having a "larger mass".

As for a vocabulary of colors, I am also unable to reproduce certain colors on screen that I "see" through synesthesia. This makes sense because "colors" are concepts within the brain -- they exist independently of the eye, and the brain simply associates certain input that comes in through the eye with the concept of a color. It's quite possible to experience colors that the eye can't see, at least in theory.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 3:29 AM
Having the same as far as I can remember. But I'm enjoying it coz it helps to remember the phone numbers, names, etc a lot :D
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Friday, July 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I have noticed for years that if I concentrate for a few seconds, I can see the color of words. For example, names. I have often colored names. I can see color in any letter or number. It is kind of cool. For example: the name Dima, is bluish gray for me. The letter Z is dark green. And the number 32 is at first light baby blue, then with a tint of light green at the end. Weird ha?
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Friday, July 6, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I have often associated high pitched noises with the color white. The more trill the sound has, the more kind of...wavy or curly it looks like. I remember trying to describe someone's high pitched singing voice and I kept saying it was like the color white. I only see it in my minds eye though. It's probably just something my mind's making up and not synesthesia, although I wish it was.
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Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 8:23 AM
@selene I experience something similar to this. The higher the note, the lighter it becomes in terms of color; can also become translucent.

I usually tend to conceptualize voices as a pieces of ribbon because they are flexible, have texture, color, etc - all things that I usually experience when hearing a voice.
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Innocent Bystander
Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I associate voices with colors. Like, if someone has a deep voice, I think of an oak brown. If someone has a light voice, I think of baby blue. Weird, huh?
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM
I see colour when I hear sounds. Music can be particularly pleasant most of the time. There are, however certain sounds that grate on my nerves like some peoples voices, certain high pitched sounds, and if I am tired any sound will stress me out. Also my housemates playing the radio and TV and talking all at the same time really gets me wound up emotionally and I just want it all to stop! At that point it is ALL noise, and really makes me exhausted and anxious.
I usually like listening to music as I drift off to sleep, but cymbals crashing and loud music of any sort makes me anxious,not relaxed. I see these things in my whole field of vision, that is transparent mostly, so if the sounds are persistant and irritating, I get stressed. Most of the time I really enjoy live music performances, and some recorded music. But mostly recorded music has an "electric" feel that tastes like metal, and so I can only take so much of that. I love the sounds of Natures birds, crickets, etc much more!
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:26 PM
@Mary I also enjoy music myself – although I can't see it synesthetically, it does fit in with certain life situations (which is why my "favorite song" can change daily).

For the "electronic" sounding music, have you tried listening on a high-end sound system, particularly one with a tube amplifier? I'd be very interested to know the result.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM
@nookkin I do have a fairly good sound system as my husband is quite the music conneseur, and used to DJ ... It doesnt seem to make a difference. I am not sure if its just because it's electrically reproduced or?? But it can get to me after a bit.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM
@Mary The source format can also make a difference, as can the mastering at the studio. An MP3 can have digital artifacts (noise) that sounds unpleasant. A CD will sound more "harsh" than a vinyl record because the CD is more perfect, which isn't necessarily a good thing – a hospital is much cleaner than a home but it's not nearly as pleasant to be in.

Is his amplifier solid-state (transistor) or tubed? Try listening to a tube amplifier if possible.

I personally love electronic music, so it's clearly different for me :P I do like my setup quite a bit!
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 9:01 AM
It seems that ANY kind of reproduced music feels this way. No we dont have a tube radio/system. It's all digital. We used to have an old 1942 Montgomery Ward Airline radio/record player/radio, but the results were still the same when I used to listen to it. I'm not sure what it is about reproduced music... I like music, and can tolerate the recorded stuff, but only to a point.
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Friday, August 31, 2012 at 3:06 PM
What color is my name? My first name is short so I'll do my middle name too: Eve Lillian
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Friday, August 31, 2012 at 3:31 PM
Eve is black. Lillian is a very dark green.
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Friday, August 31, 2012 at 3:41 PM
What color is Sara? That's my mom's name.

P.S. Do you think of the letters in eve and Lillian together as being green and black, or the separate letters? What colors are the letters?
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Friday, August 31, 2012 at 3:59 PM
@Eve Hi :)

Let's see: altogether, Sara is a pale color, like ripe wheat. Separately, S is pale golden yellow, A is usually somewhere between white and pale yellow, and R is a rusty red.

E is a nice salmon color (though more orange than pink); V is a dark blue. L is usually a shade of purple (in this case dark; maybe cause there's 3 of them?); I, like A, is usually a pale color, very indistinct; though more pinkish than yellow. And N is a dark, woody brown.

I'm not sure why, but when letters are put together (such as in names) the word has a color all its own that trumps any of the separate letters. Though looking at the names you provided it could well be that my brain picks the most dominant letter colors and goes with a composite for words/names. But who knows...
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Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM
I just read this and now I think I might have this.
Whenever i think of numbers, I see a kind of line thing with all the numbers on it. My viewpoint usually starts at zero and goes up to a hundred, but if the numbers are more or less than that it changes. Its mostly in grayscale, with significant numbers, like zero, five, ten etc and all the even numbers, which are all used more, in darker shades than the other numbers. So ten, zero, five and one hundred are the darkest.
Is this a form of synesthesia?
I also see months pretty much the same way, with significant days (birthdays, start and end of month, school holidays and christmas) all been darker, or more defined than the rest.
The week is seen the same too, with Saturday and Sunday darkest, Monday slightly darker than Tuesday, Wednesday the same as Monday, since its about the middle, and Friday darker than Thursday. If there's something important on that week, like no school, the days will be darker, but if its a birthday, it will almost be white.
Is this synesthesia?
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Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM
@Jade Yup, that's syn! Spacial sequence or a concept map, to be exact. :)
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Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM
I just read all of this and now I'm curious. Are the words of colours the same as how you see them? So is the word purple, purple in your head? Or do you see it as a different colour? If that makes sense.

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Monday, September 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM
@Kaliyah You know, I'd never even thought about that conciously but, yeah they are (for me).
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Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 4:28 AM
I see written names as a tone or impression, not individual letters but the whole name. Kind of like a mood ring - there's a colour and an emotion attached. Sometimes I also see a scribbly line on the name that jumps high or low that means different things to me. It sounds bad, but some names give me a bad feeling so I'll already judge that person before I meet them based on that feeling. Like the name Simone - it's a cross between sky blue and ocean blue and the line kind of jumps up at the beginning and plateau's at the end which gives me the impression of being mischievious and calm. But this doesn't sound like synesthesia based on what others have commented. :S
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Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 9:07 PM
@Erin Pretty sure that's form of synesthesia -- you're mixing sensory inputs.
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Victoria Baker
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 5:33 PM
I'm 52, and only learned of synesthesia a year ago! Before I knew this was an actual neurologically based condition, I always thought I associated numbers with colors because of the time of year when I was learning them. For example, I thought 2 (red) and 3 (green) was taught to me in KDG. around Christmas. 6 is pink and 8 is yellow, so I figured it was taught around Easter! LOL I had no explanation for 4 being brown and 5... black, or 7 being blue. My daughter had a psychology class last year and came home and told me about this. Imagine my surprise! LOL
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Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 8:38 PM
I'm 17 years old and I've had synesthesia as long as I can remember. I've played the violin since I was 5 and have been really successful with it my whole life. I've always always had a really good musical ear but I can't sight read worth beans cause I play everything by the colors I hear. I didn't know I had synesthesia until last year in my orchestra class my teacher was talking about how some people see colors when they listen to music.. and I was sitting in my class and said to him, "Well, doesn't everybody?" Soon I realaized that I associate colors with music notes, letters, number, days, months, people.. etc. It's sooo good to see that many others experience this!I feel sad that most people don't. I've noticed though, when I actually focus on the colors and try to determine them, they seem to disappear, but when I just go about things as normal they are bright and clear. Does anyone else do this?
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Friday, September 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM
that's truly wonderful! yes, i'm the same! whenever i focus on the colours i can't see them very well and they just change into a colour that i cannot describe/ is more than just a colour
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 3:40 PM
I, like others, have thought in this way for as long as I can remember. I didn't have any info before as to why this was the case. And even now, I can't help to consider that maybe the answer is more simple. Learning the alphabet as a child for example, I would remember an alphabet line that would be above the chalkboard. Each letter had a color and each letter would also be attached to a word for spelling. Such as, A is for Apple...and a picture of a red apple would be there. Numbers on a similar line would also be colored. Tastes and colors relating to sounds or people may also just be related to memory.I had two wooden "little people"(toys of the 70s) and the mom was blue with blond hair and looked like my mom. Now, I think of my mom being blue and most blonds from a distance as having blue in them. All to say, that the source may be more from memory of things whose colors we remember...?
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Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM
When given an eye exam, does the colors aid in your visual acuity? Or if you can't make out the letters, Does the colors lose saturation?
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Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 9:53 PM
@Arahn I actually don't "see" the colors until my eye resolves the letter. If the blob appears to be an "A", it looks red to me; if I squint and it becomes an "N", it starts to look dark green instead. So it doesn't help with visual acuity but it does help me keep things organized.
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Monday, October 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM
This is very interesting. Always wondered what this phenomenon was called.
Although I connect EVERYthing to some or other color. Events, people, numbers, music, sounds, etc...

I also experience the 'Spatial location synesthesia' with number lines, dates on the calendar, times and so forth. Only, those patrons in my mind is very difficult to explain to anyone. I'm the only one I know of with this phenomenon. Thank you for making this clear to me!!
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Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM
i dont know how long ive been associating colors with numbers and letsrs. when i first started noticing, in the sixth grade, it was because a friend had read a mango shaped space by wendy mass, and told me about it. i was confused, but i giess that was when i finally opened my eye to synesthesia. im fourteen now, and for a while ive thought tht my case of synesthesia was just wishful thinking. but ive taken a few online tests, and ive started to wonder. like, how could i be making up my synesthesia if the colors i associate with numbers and letyers never change? even when i think, oh, the letter n woul look so pretty as purple, or o would make a nice red, it doesnt change anything tht in my head i still see n as brown, and o as electric blue. also, when i see these letters in different colors, ibsometimes get headaches. another little bit of broof is that i sometimes subconciously use the colors and letters to memorize dates for history. but here's the real bit of proof, some memories tht i only recently remembered: when i was younger, i thought the color maroon was a silvery purple gray, like the color of storm clouds, and that scarlet was a deep purply red, like grape juice. this is because those are the colors the words are, and the letters in them. i was so supriesed when i learned maroon and scarlet were both shades of red! so anyway, im so glad my synesthesia is real, not just something i made up or got from a book, and its just so amazing that i wish everyone could experience it at least once in their lives.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 10:58 PM
it's a teal-ish color
its the same color as my friend's name which is "delara"
heh funny
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Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:54 PM
Im wondering if I possibly have synthesia
I "see" (in my "minds eye" sorta, it's sort of an involuntary visualization/thought) colors attached to words/letters. not all words/letters have colors though (usually names) for example, tori is light lime/yellowish green, gracie is a bright light orangey color, samuel is rusty deep-dark red, nora is a tropical orange/yellow, etc. but they are always very specific tones of color, and it sounds "wrong" to me for someone to say the name is another color, or for my mind to contradict itself, it's very consistant for each name, maybe just a few changes in tone over time, but that's it. ever since I can remember, I thought of people as color, so instead of the person when seeing, or remembering a thought of them, I always picture/think of their color, and sometimes I even forget their name and only remember their color. and thats also a way I get help remembering names.


songs also have colors, not just individual musical notes, like more than one note at least, it automatically just makes me picture a color, I almost just see it most of the time, but sometimes I actually see it physically.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM
I've been reading through almost all the comments posted here, and I don't see letters, names or numbers in colors, but I do see food, smells and taste in colors. But most strongly - every single person have their own color. Like, my dad is like a green with purple inside, my mom is a pink/purpleish while my brother is a dark blue to blackish.. Anyone else who has the same thing?
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The Queen of Putrescence
Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I'm not sure if I actually have synesthesia, but I think I might. When I read, the words are simply black and white (or whatever color the font is supposed to be). But when I THINK about letters and numbers, I associate them with specific colors. For example, the letter "b" is a bright medium-blue, and the number "8" is a sort of rich plum-color. If I don't physically see them this way, is it still considered synesthesia?

My younger sister claims that she experiences similar thoughts about colors. Not every number/letter is the same for us, though; we occasionally get into these ridiculous debates about, say, whether 7 is yellow or green. She actually has ideas about the relationships between numbers (apparently, 1 and 2 are married), but I've never imagined about them this way.

Additionally, I have a few other questions:
1.) A rather large percentage of my numbers and letters are associated with a sort of sunny yellow color (I can think of c, d, f, n, y, 4, and 7 off the top of my head). The exact shade can vary a bit, but they're all very similar. Is this strange?

2.) Some letters and numbers can be colored differently, depending on when I'm thinking about them or how they're being used. Like, "x" can be either red or black. And certain capital letters are not the same colors as their lowercase counterparts. Does anyone else experience this?

3.) Sometimes, I mix up colors and letters (more so than colors and numbers). Like, I'll think to myself, "oh, this word is distinctly 'i'-colored", and then I'll realize that "i" is not actually a color. To me, "i" is bubblegum pink, but it's so clearly, overwhelmingly pink that the respective concepts of the color and the letter are almost synonymous in my mind. Does this seem normal?

So, yeah, if anyone can give me commentary on this, I will be enormously grateful. Thanks in advance!
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Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM
@The Queen of Putrescence
1) Synesthesia as a whole is "strange" in that it's not the norm. But it sure is awesome :) I'm not sure why such a large proportion is yellow though.

2) This occasionally happens to me. The letter "Y" comes to mind -- normally it's a nice blue color as in the above example, but at times it turns tan or red.

For me "Yes" is red (since Y and S dominate), and "No" is green. This is a bit counter-intuitive when designing UIs since affirmations are usually green.

3) Occasionally happens to me as well. I remembered the code to a door with a keypad was "yellow and blue" but then realized that it contains 3 and 4.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM
I keep becoming more and more convinced that I have synesthesia-I remember vaguely when I was little listening to music and getting almost a design of colors made of of purple and magenta in my minds eye-but this doesn't always happen to me. Do you think I have synesthesia, and why do I only see the colors sometimes?
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Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 3:21 PM
Sometimes names have shapes for me but only with some. Like Helen is kind of like a red series of rain drops or just one. Selene ends with a square because of the e. Once I was listening to a song and all the sudden I started thinking "This part looks like green lace" Is that synesthesia?
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The Queen of Putrescence
Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 3:38 PM
@selene: Does the name "Isabella" have a shape? (That's my first name.)
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 6:54 AM
In general, I go through my day ignoring the sounds and colors that are triggered by life. Some colors though, like yellow and pink, are so loud that even a little will make my ears hurt. Yellow is like someone blowing a whistle, and pink is like someone scratching on glass. Autumn is the time when I get my worst migraines. I play trombone, and it's a distinct navy blue mist. Tubas are purple, and flutes are yellow. I actually switched from flute to trombone as a child when the bright yellow gave me headaches. Not just music, but noise has colors. My vacuum is distinctly orange, sirens are red and red sounds like a siren, and windchimes are like little silver confetti in the breeze. Recently I saw the online video for motion-sound synesthesia, and I had to ask my husband if the video really was silent. It's not something I consciously noticed before, since sometimes what I hear-hear and what I see-hear mixes up, so now I'm paying more attention to the "motion-sound" portion that is the soundtrack of my life.
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Monday, November 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM
i dont know if this synesthesia or not, but I remembered when I saw my score on my test paper when I was 15 (now I'm 18). It was 61.
But I saw the number as brown and white, and then that I tried to continue the lines and this was what I see:

61: brown n white
62: brown n pink
63: brown n yellow
64: brown n red
65: brown and green
66: brown n brown
67: brown n indigo
68: brown n purple
69: brown n maroon
60: brown n black

but the list become a bit different when it comes to 1-0

1 red
2 blue
3 yellow
4 pink
5 green
6 white
7 indigo
8 brown
9 maroon - more into brown
0 grey

Sometimes I can see colors in music, but not very often. Like for me, classical is brown. Jazz is blue. Pop is yellow.

but with the alphabet, I'm not really sure, just some of them. right now what I see is

A is red
B is blue
C is yellow
D is orange.. more into brown-orange
E is green
i is yellow/pale yellow/white
U is brown
T is dark blue

I think I also see some colors in words.. but they are just not that clear, I thought this is normal like everyone can do

so... is this synesthesia or not? because i think i only have a bit of the symptoms xD

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Monday, November 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM
i just want to answer your question for fun :D for me ISABELLA:
I white, B is pale brown, E is pale lime green, L is brown, A is pink. and it's like soft, smooth brown or magenta swirls with some abit lime green leaves with broken white backgrounds
@The Queen of Putrescence
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Monday, November 19, 2012 at 2:49 PM
The comment form here supports colored text using the [ color ] BBCode tags. You can actually display a color instead of just describing it :P
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The Queen of Putrescence
Monday, November 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM
Your vision sounds nice. I hate mine; I picture "Isabella" as a sort of gold background studded with rubies around the a's and sapphires around the b. There's also a sort of lace-y effect. It's got this gaudy appearance, which I can't stand, and it doesn't fit me at all.
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Monday, November 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM
PLEASE HELP ! DO I HAVE synesthesia?!

Thank you for your information! I think i might have synesthesia but a weird kind, i feel colors in my childhood memories, and in different kind of words i have like a feeling and describe it in my head as a colour, when i listen to music i really have a lot of colours in my head, it is very hard to describe but when i listen to music like jazz, i see warm colors (like red, brown, etc.) that move calm, same with blues but more with cold colours like blue and green. When i listen to dubstep i have a very unique feeling in my head, like a thousand colours rushing true my head, it is very hard to explain. I also feel a colour when talking to someone, this colour depends on the persons voice and appearance. I have experienced that this colours are effecting my choice of music, so am i liking the "colour" of rap music. I am a listener of old school rap and hip-hop sinds my childhood.

Should i see a doctor for this? Is there any change it will have a negative effect on my life later on? Should i get tested or something?

I apologise for my bad english, i tried my best.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM
@Leonard The childhood memories thing doesn't seem like synesthesia. However, the music does! Music -> color synesthesia is a real thing. :)

While there *is* a tiny chance it will affect your life negatively, that's only if it's too strong and impossible to escape, two things yours seems not to be (it should be noted that the same thing can happen with normal senses, or pure memory, if it gets too strong). =) There's nothing wrong with it. It's only "abnormal" in that it's a minority. You don't need to get tested or see a doctor, don't worry! Unless you want to participate in research, but I don't think that's what you were asking. ;)

Hope I helped!
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Scott Milks
Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:41 AM
To concerned girlfriend and Salamander, losing your Synesthesia is perfectly normal in times of stress. I have color>Synesthesia and mine is affected by stress, caffeine, loudness/brightness. I have lost my Synesthesia for a short time and it always involves a sudden change. I've also read that age can play a part. The older you get the less you have. I would recommend reading "Mango Shaped Cat". It is a very simple read and interesting.
One question I do have is I tend to just experience my synesthesia with music. I don't get much from voices, or anything else. Does anyone else have that? Also, I can only see 2-3 colors: usually Green, Blue, and White. I hate White. It is in the way and usually there when I don't want it.
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Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:03 PM
I see numbers as colours and letters but not words. Prime numbers tend to be green except two, thats yellow. I only got colours and numbers being associated when I was eleven. Weird, but doesn't make much difference.
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Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:53 AM
A-peachy/light pinkish/brownish

Your last letter - A, is like strawberry shortcake.

All together your name is Yellow.
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Jessica Maes
Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 3:38 PM
I see colours with letters, numbers and days. But only with the lettres: a,e,i,u,y and o.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM
@Jessica Maes

While I do associate consonants with certain colors, I definitely feel that the connection between vowels and their respective hues is much stronger (often, an entire word is colored by a single vowel).
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM
@Lara Your name would be dark purple
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:09 PM
@Eve Eve is lime green
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:19 PM
@Atiya Emily dose not have a color to me atiya is bright orange
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:28 PM
Is@rei Isabella has no color well no the I is shiny blue@The Queen of Putrescence I have to say shapes in this aren't my thing but I do know a few and Isabella is one of them it is a triangle@Atiya Yea I don't see individual letters in names in the alphabet I do but I just don't know do I have it?
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Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 8:20 PM
X@Scott Milks Actually it's A MANGO SHAPED SPACE
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Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 9:37 PM
Whoa! I see it that way too!
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Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10:54 PM
I see people as colors. Almost like as if they had an "aura" my sister in law is yellow. I don't know my own color...but my husband blue, my brother blue, my son orange, my daughter brown. I also see music notes as levels and colors. They lengthen and widen with the value of each. I think it actually makes it more difficult to read actual notes on a page. Numbers/letters gave color. Words have colors. I've also noticed outside color/light changes after storms or changes in season and around solstice times. It's either brighter/bluer/whiter/yellower light depending on atmospheric changes. I always thought I was crazy. Smell is also very sensitive. I remember whole conversations and feelings when presented with certain smells.
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:34 AM
Hello everyone,
I was just wondering about some associations I have when I hear voices. I always combine them with some sort of texture, like my little brother's got an angular voice while my mother's is round and a friend of mine has some kind of stripes in her voice. Is this something everybody feels or could it be called syesthesia?
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Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 6:52 AM
My ten year old daughter has been having headaches for several years and they have recently become frequent. I took her to her pediatrician and she recommended an eye exam. The optometrist cleared her with 20/13 vision. My next step was an appt. with a neurologist, Sept. 2013. Yesterday we were having dinner and she asked me what color I thought the number two was.....I didn't quite understand what she was talking about and she continued to say, "I see number two as the color red, and number one as green." I explained that I don't think of colors when I hear numbers and she said, "nevermind, you don't get it." I immediately started reading about synesthesia and it said that 57% of people that have it think of the color brown with the letter "d". I asked her about "d" and she said brown and I about fell out! I continued to read that many people who have synesthesia suffer from frequent migraines.....I'm thinking I may be onto something. I called my oldest daughter and she said, "mom, I do that too, only I also think of color with days of the week and months of the year, you don't?" So....I called their father and he said, he has always associated numbers and letters with color and has always suffered with migraines............Gee whiz!!! We have an appt. to see her neurologist next month and I am hoping that he takes this into consideration. Has anyone else experienced frequent headaches?????? Thanks in advance for any input!

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Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 2:27 AM
For the first 40 years of my life it never occurred to me that others did not see numbers, letters, and words in color. My two daughters do as well. For me, words are hugely influenced by the color of the initial letter. And yes, "d" is brown. Tan actually. So "April" is rusty red due to the A, May is pink because M is pink etc. Although oddly, I JUST realized that "color" words are their own colors. As in the word white is white, even tho W is typically green for me and therefore most W words are green. Weird.
Four has always been my fav. Number - probably because to me it is sunny and yellow and seems happy.
I dont see colors when I read, only when I "picture" a word or letter in my mind.
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Barbara Gardner
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM
I see words of days of the week and months of the year in colour.
Monday is white
Tuesday is light blue
Wednesday is green
Thursday is darker blue
Friday is red
Saturday is green
Sunday is white
Similarly with words of each month, etc
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Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 9:24 PM
My severe headaches, mostly occurring in my youth, were from what I would call over activity.

I still get incredible blinding headaches, but only in certain places. I had to leave a Blues Concert a couple years ago. Between the music, the emotion and suddenly feeling lost, my friends walked to some other area and I had not noticed.

By the time I made it to the door, I could barely see.

Fortunately, that doesn't happen much! ;)

As a kid though, seemed like once a week things would get to be too much. Somehow, I have either learned to deal with it or, it is not as strong. Maybe a little of both.

I found that the warmth and singularity of a hot shower, would most often relieve my headaches.

Not sure any of that makes sense. It does to me.

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Monday, April 14, 2014 at 7:21 PM
I have spacial location synesthesia, as well as associating numbers and letters (mostly letters) with colors. Names as well, although I also associate those with shapes. With a little bit of concentration, I can determine the color of someone's voice, although it doesn't happen automatically. I can also taste some things with different songs. Most months have a color, as do the days. Music is harder; I need to concentrate for a minute in order to be able to see all the different colors, but sometimes it's all going to fast and I can't pinpoint any one color. Shapes I can do. I also "hear" music when I look at certain paintings, mostly abstract art. For example, I look at this one painting, and I think "classical music."
But I have a question: I don't physically see, or hear, any of this, just in my mind's eye. Except for the taste. I actually do taste that. Mostly, it's just like, I look at the color someone wrote their name and think, that color's wrong, or when they talk, I wince because their voice is, like, puke green. Little stuff like that. But I'm wondering if any people on this actually see, physically, anything, or if it's more of an impression in their mind, like me.Please help!
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Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:32 PM
Well, it's not so much individual letters as it is names. Just wanted to point that out. And when I'm reading something, it's not like all the letters on the page turn up specific colors, mostly it's only with names, and even then it's more of a feeling, like "Aberdeen should be brown/red."
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Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Probably because the word sounds like Auburn.
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Friday, August 29, 2014 at 8:27 AM
i don't know what it's called, but i associate colors with the days of the week, and some colors with personalities, and in turn associate colors with people! i don't know what i could use it for.

i also "see" number sequences and time units in shapes as well... not so much visually see but in my mind's eye. for instance 1950-2000 (the years) have a distinct pattern, but then 2001-2014 are different, and an hour looks different from a week looks different from a single year with the months. if anyone experiences the same thing, or knows the benefits of it, let me know! :)
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Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 8:16 PM
So I have just noticed I only see the word of colors, but not the actual colors. I have to think really hard about that color so I can look for it. I use bright colors and see them but I also don't distinguish the type of colors only the main rainbow colors. I also don't see the months in any order. Only separately. Not listed or grouped
It is like my brain doesn't more than one month at a time. Calendars that have months grouped together are overwhelming to me.
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Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 4:18 PM
I have noticed that I have began seeing flashes of colors while I am massaging clients. Typically I see purple, white and gold. I have other instances outside of massage therapy where I have seen blue, red and pink. I have no idea what these colors mean or how to interpret them. Help please!
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 10:20 PM
My daughter, who finds numbers and dates associated with particular colours has started doing some computer-intensive graphics at university and is finding the additional information quite a challenge, especially with columns or spreadsheets of numbers. I'm wondering whether anyone else has had this issue, and whether they found any solutions by Eg. Changing the colour mix of the screen, different lenses, or othe ways of reducing the confusion
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Peggy Bodington
Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 2:36 PM
I just found your website and was hoping to get some feedback. I guess I'm checking to see if I fall into your category. I am a grandmother, and I just recently told the 2nd and 3rd persons in my life about my "colors". It is only associated with people and they don't have to be with me. The colors usually come with a picture of something that indicates to me what it means, because the color does not always mean the same thing. I get it a lot with people I meet for the first time. I introduced my daughter and her now husband because when I met him I got an overwhelming "yellow" and "good" - to me yellow meant sunshine. The used car salesman however gave me "yellow and black" - meaning yellow jacket bee. I did not buy a car from him. Another one was when my daughter was several hundred miles away on a trip when she "popped" into my head, along with gray storm clouds. After trying to ignore this for 30 minutes I called her and she was in the first aid station. Let me know what you think and thank you for any input.
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