Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Synesthesia (Goethe seminar, part 5)



The word Synesthesia comes from the ancient Greek συν (with) and αίσθησις (sensation).
It is a neurologically based phenomenon in which a person “combines” colours with letters, numbers, music or even taste.
These are the various forms of Synesthesia.



1. Grapheme – colour Synesthesia
This is the most common form. Individual letters of the alphabet and numbers are “shades” with a colour. For example, a colour- synesthete sees the letter “S” red and “c” yellow.
Synesthetes have entirely different experiences from each other. While one sees the colour red in a letter, another one sees the letter blue, for example.

2. Music – colour Synesthesia
These individuals experience colours in respond to tones or other aspects of musical stimuli.


3. Number form Synesthesia
A number form is a mental map of numbers which automatically appears whenever someone who experiences number – forms thinks of numbers.

4. Personification
This form associates ordered sequences, such as ordinal numbers, days, months and letters with personalities.

5. Lexical – gustatory Synesthesia
Individual words and phonemes of spoken language evoke the sensations of taste in the mouth.


Research has proven that Synesthesia is genetic and usually clusters within families.
Synesthetes are not usually aware of their condition until they realize that people around them do not share the same experience.
Individuals with Synesthesia tend to take part in creative activities and some studies have suggested that there is a connection between this condition and creativity – art.


Synesthete children in the classroom should feel security, love and warmth.

“When you do something with pleasure, you never have to work again” – Confucius
(Info: Mrs. Baumgartner's lecture, Goethe Institut and www.wikipedia.org)

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