Synesthesia

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Many of us have had the experience of unusual associations between our senses and our memories. Perhaps a certain smell unexpectedly reminds you of a past love, or certain foods evoke memories of your childhood. Associations between memories and sensory experience are normal, but about 2 - 4 percent of the population (Cohen, Jennie. 5) experiences a condition called Synesthesia where the senses seem to blend together, such as seeing numbers and letters in vivid color, hearing colors, feeling sounds and tasting shapes. Synesthesia can show up in many different forms occurring between multiple senses. While there are plenty of possible combinations, there are several synesthesia types which occur most commonly, such as Grapheme to Color Synesthesia, Sound to Color Synesthesia, Number Form Synesthesia, Personification, and Lexical to Gustatory Synesthesia. While nearly every possible combination of experiences is logically possible, not all have been identified.

Synesthesia - from the Greek words "syn" meaning union and "aisthaesis" meaning sensation - comes in many varieties. Some synesthetes hear, smell, taste, or feel pain in color. Others taste shapes, perceive written digits, letters, and words in color. Some, who possess what researchers call "conceptual synesthesia," see abstract concepts, such as units of time or mathematical operations. And many synesthetes experience more than one form of the condition. The condition is not well known, in part because many synesthetes fear ridicule for their unusual ability, or they see it as normal and do not realize they have such an uncommon gift.

The first documented case of Synesthesia was recorded by Georg Tobias Ludwig Sachs in 1812 (Jewanski, J. 5), but was widely misunderstood for much of its history from many experts thinking the condition was a form of insanity. Over the past 30 years, however, there has been growing evidence showing that the brains of synesthetes are...
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