BY SIRI CARPENTER
Monitor staff (abridged copy, to read entire text click on link below)
Guitar music doesn’t just tickle Carol Crane’s fancy–it also brushes softly against her ankles. When she hears violins, she also feels them on her face. Trumpets make themselves known on the back of her neck.
In addition to feeling the sounds of musical instruments on her body, Crane sees letters and numbers in brilliant hues. And for her, units of time each have their own shape: She sees the months of the year as the cars on a ferris wheel, with July at the top, December at the bottom.
Sean Day, PhD, tastes in technicolor.
“The taste of beef, such as a steak, produces a rich blue,” says Day, a linguistics professor at National Central University in Taiwan. “Mango sherbet appears as a wall of lime green with thin wavy strips of cherry red. Steamed gingered squid produces a large glob of bright orange foam, about four feet away, directly in front of me.”
Crane and Day share an extraordinary sensory condition called synesthesia.
The phenomenon–its name derives from the Greek, meaning “to perceive together”–comes in many varieties. Some synesthetes hear, smell, taste or feel pain in color. Others taste shapes, and still others 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, as shapes projected either internally or in the space around them. And many synesthetes experience more than one form of the condition.
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You can stimulate your creativity by using a simple self hypnosis trance and imagining things the way a synesthete does. Try it. What sound does emerald green make? I called “green” cool whispering dreams in a high school English class haiku exercise.
How does “resentment” taste?
We hypnotists use a technique similar to this for pain management known as objectifying the pain. Describe your pain. What color is it? How does it taste? smell? How big is it? Take a deep breath. Through this simple process the pain shrinks and very quickly disappears normally.