Marliese Baer

What Is Synesthesia?

When you experience a sense impression occurring when another sense is being stimulated.

Sensory System (Part of Nervous System)


  • Central computer that controls body function

  • The nervous system sends messages back-and-forth

  • Through the spinal cord

Organs/Parts of:

  • Spinal cord

  • Brain

  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Tongue
  • Skin

System Normally vs. With Synesthesia

Nervous/Sensory System Normally:

  • All senses being processed normally

  • All senses occurring when one is being stimulated

  • All senses communicating with the brain normally

Nervous/Sensory System with Synesthesia:

  • Experiencing sense A along with sense B when A is being stimulated

  • Experiencing the wrong sense at the wrong time

  • Mixing up or confusing the senses (Ex. hearing colors, seeing sounds, etc.)

Target Population

  • Women are more affected than men

  • Biological

  • Runs in families (not always, skips generations)

  • Born with or discovered very early

  • Doesn’t usually go away or fade

  • 1 person in 2000 people have Synesthesia

[Are exceptions to this]


  • Biological

  • Runs in families (are exceptions)

  • In DNA

  • Brain “wired differently”

  • Are usually born with or notice it at a young age

  • Very rarely people acquire it

  • Research still in progress

Signs and Symptoms

  • Hearing/Tasting/Feeling/Seeing smells

  • Hearing/Tasting/Feeling/Smelling colors

  • Hearing/Tasting/Smelling textures or shapes

  • Hearing/Feeling/Smelling/Seeing tastes

  • Tasting/Feeling/Smelling/Seeing sounds

[Exceptions do apply]


  • Run certain tests

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

  • Noticing the symptoms and informing professional/doctor

[No actual need to see a doctor]


  • No real treatments presently

  • Doesn’t tend to be a problem

  • If problem (rare) inform doctor

  • “It’s not necessary to see a doctor.” (though some do)


  • Life span not affected

  • Does not affect day to day life

  • It’s “normal” to the synesthete

  • Without it the synesthete would feel at loss

  • Most synesthetes “can't imagine life without it”

  • Sometimes interrupt thoughts, but they get use to it



  • Pharrell Williams

  • Lady Gaga

Why I chose this Topic:

  • I heard about it from a friend and it sounded intriguing

  • Read about it online


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What color is Tuesday? Exploring synesthesia - Richard E. Cytowic