Synaesthesia is a neurological condition that causes one to experience sensory “crosstalk” such as the perception of numbers having a color or words having a flavor. Many artists throughout history whose pictures or words seem to inspire other senses are being revisited with this condition in mind. Perhaps your favorite author’s metaphors were more literal than you thought and when you hear beautiful prose or see vivid imagery, the author is in fact speaking to your inner synaesthete.
“My real hair color is kind of a dark blonde. Now I just have mood hair.” – Julia Roberts
Recent research suggests that this fascinating and rare condition is not so rare and may provide an insight into how all of our minds work. As many as 1 in 20 people tested have measurable signs of synaesthesia and the remaining 19 out of 20 people (everyone else) while not actually getting a literal sensory message, make the same connections synaesthetes make.
“The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” – Claude Debussy
We seem to share a universal vocabulary of the senses and “blue Mondays” really are blue.
“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”– Oscar Wilde