I have synesthesia, AMA and I'll tell you what color your name is

  1. I heard about a cello player with synesthesia who sees colors when she plays. Have you tried to play music on an instrument to see what happens?

  2. I was a music kid growing up! I can play a lot of instruments, and now that I think about it, part of my knack for it may have come from synesthesia. I do see colors when I play, but I don't think it's usually any different from when I hear the song regularly.

  3. I don't have synesthesia but I corelate things that have no business being corelated to each other (ex: 9 & 7 are the same thing but 7 is orange and 9 is purple) I think it's wild how the brain works sometimes. Maybe if I could "see" images in my head I would have synesthesia.

  4. That can definitely be a type of synesthesia! You don't necessarily have to "see" things for it to be syn. A good example- as a kid my mom's house keys had (and honestly still do) have personalities. The top key was square and bronze, and that made it cool and stoic. The bottom key was rounder and silver, she was a girl and she was shy around the top key. I also feel very strongly that the music note F has a crush on B flat, but B flat has got their head in the clouds and doesn't notice.

  5. The best thing about it is talking about it like this! The worst thing about it is definitely the misophonia. Chicken nuggets taste yellow-orange.

  6. I’ve always wondered if synesthesia is a good way to better memorize things, ir if it’s more like a sensory overload. How is it for you? Oh, and does it affect how much you like people? Thanks for doing this AMA! My name is Togo, btw :) curious to what you see on it!

  7. Not quite! It's more like a different way of remembering things, it won't necessarily help you be better at it. It's like remembering the pneumonic device, but not always what it's supposed to help you actually remember. I've had times trying to remember a song, but I could only remember what color it was and not the name or artist. But sometimes I do get a "oh yeah, I remember that because it was such a distinct yellow" moment haha

  8. I don't really get colors tied to memories the same way I do with emotions, so an upsetting memory can't be defined in general by like, red for anger or something. That said, I do often remember memories by a color, usually taken from wherever I was when that memory happened. One particularly upsetting memory in recent times was when I got into a big argument with a family member while on vacation. It was late at night and I stormed out of the room and to the lobby while my phone was low on battery, so I was only able to stare at the stuff in the lobby. That memory always comes back with a strong ivory color, since the walls were white and the lights were yellow there.

  9. I don't drive, but synesthesia never impairs my vision. It's not a literal sight, it's sort of hard to explain. It's more like seeing things in your mind's eye/imagining something. When someone asks you to picture an apple, (assuming you don't have aphasia) the way that image shows up in your head is the same way colors will show up when I listen to music. It's easy for them to become background noise, honestly!

  10. Not quite their energy! I get colors from their names mostly, and I might have biases towards certain colors, but this doesn't affect how I interact with people for the most part. I also don't get other people's emotions as colors, but I do get my own.

  11. When it comes to music specifically, I love hearing pink and certain shades of purple! Purple is my favorite color, but it's also very rare to hear a mostly purple or mostly pink song, so I'm always pleasantly surprised and a bit impressed when I get to hear them. Red is a good second- red songs are fairly common but I do think red songs are really interesting to listen to, and are usually about specific and intriguing things.

  12. I'm not sure what you mean by difficulty and soothing? Do you mean in regards to misophonia? Also, #8db5d6 and #b7c452

  13. I've always been curious about synesthesia. I thought it is cool but now I see there are some nasty drawbacks. How are you coping with them?

  14. People often say that they can't live without a pair of headphones, but that's meant a little more literally for me. My main way of coping with terrible sounds are just to put in my earbuds and drown it out. I've heard some things about therapy for misophonia, but it seems very hit or miss, and I wouldn't even know where to start looking for that sort of treatment. As time passes and my pile of triggers grows, though, it is something I've thought about.

  15. I think I have something like that. Tastes and smells sometimes have colors. At least they used to. When my kids were little, I would ask them what color they feel. Then I would list out feelings associated with those colors to help them understand and express their feelings.

  16. Not really for me personally, but this definitely sounds like a type of synesthesia! There's studies suggesting that we're all born with it and most of us just lose it when we're young, so it's very possible you and your kids have it/have had it.

  17. They can change! Usually it happens the more experience I get with something or someone, but this isn't always the case.

  18. I had heard about synesthesia before (in the context of "gifted" kids who apparently tend to experience it often), but I never imagined it could be as precise as an hex code. Wow. I wonder how it feels for you to read a book? Does it break immersion? Or in the contrary, does it help you immerse yourself in imaginary worlds?

  19. I actually was pegged as a "gifted" kid in elementary school! I never considered there might be some correlation between the two. Translating how I see certain things into an objective word or color or hex code is difficult, given how much of synesthesia feels like a feeling rather than actually seeing, it often feels like I'm trying to interpret an alien language. The hex codes are about as accurate as I can get that way!

  20. I always thought I was a weird kid, even as a kid. I think part of me wanted to be special, so I'd assume a lot of things that were common experiences were specific to me. But I was also the kid that didn't like drawing too much attention to themself, especially from adults, so I kept a lot of my weird stuff to myself. Ironically enough, there's actually been studies on synesthesia that suggest we're all born with it! Most people just lose theirs when they're young.

  21. I'm lazy at heart, this is a question I think about on the daily. If I wasn't working, I'd love to just devote my entire life to art. I want to start working on big projects I've been dreaming about for years, and if I had all the time in the world... Well, I'd probably slack off a lot too, but I would also be working a lot on the stuff I wanna make lol

  22. Hmm, not quite? I think if I do this at all it's more with feelings than colors. Piano definitely comes to mind- I grew up taking piano lessons so the feeling of pressing down one of the keys is so deeply ingrained in me. The ebb and flow of tension and release that you get from any action, but in this case specifically playing a piano key, definitely replicates when I hear piano being played.

  23. I don't have what I think of as immersove synaesthesia but months, city names, and some other things come in hard colours to me. A few letters of the alphabet too. I have tried to place other colors to letters but it's like I look too hard and force it, when really I can only catch them out of the corner of my eye.

  24. That can be a type of synesthesia! It doesn't always have to be colors to letters and vice versa. I get weird ones too, some having nothing to do with color at all.

  25. Mine is Monika and I'd like to know about the name Albert as well. Do you feel like the color of a person resembles their personality? (if yes in what way)

  26. I love this question! I love all types of music with a lot of ear candy, or music that uses a lot of samples. There's a lot of EDM like this. Some good examples are

  27. Most words, yeah! I have to assume all, but I also haven't tested every word lol. Spelling is definitely a factor. Someone's name in this thread was Monika, and I've only ever seen that spelling used for Monika from Doki Doki Literature Club, so I associate it with her hair color. But Monica spelled with a c is very clearly just a plain red for me.

  28. Do the colours change based on nicknames? For example, if the base name is Alexandra, how do Alexa, Alex, Lexa or Lexy look?

  29. For sure! Alexandra is a pinkish red, very saturated and a little dark. Alexa is reddish pink, like a fuschia. Lexa is orangey yellow, warm like gold but not shiny the same way. Lexy is a lighter yellow with hints of light pink. They're all vaguely similar but are definitely their own distinct colors as well.

  30. Kyle is yellow! Yurt is.... surprisingly hard? Definitely an earthy color like #c4b57a, but I also get some blue in there. Weird.

  31. my name is chloe ! have u read “A Mango Shaped Space”? it was how i first learned about synesthesia existing when i was about 10

  32. I've never heard of it! My first experience hearing about synesthesia was also from a book I read around the same age, actually- Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. It's about a girl with cerebral palsy who experiences the world through her synesthesia.

  33. I like square pizza! I didn't know it was called Detroit style, actually. I'm from NYC, so you'd think that'd be my answer, but I actually prefer something fluffier than the regular thin crust- I think it can be good, but it's hard to pull off. Whatever Chuck E Cheese has goin on is good lmao

  34. I had to look that up lol, I really ought to get around to watching that movie. Now I do want a hamburger phone. It can be exhausting for sure, but I'm sort of at a point where I've accepted this is just how it is- is that depressing? Maybe??

  35. Angels are more typically pleasing to the eye- pastel and light colors, while devils have what I might consider more intriguing colors, red, purple, dark colors in general. Its up to personal preference, but I think I prefer devils, just based on the colors.

  36. Sometimes my answer is the obvious one! Wisteria is purple (I'm sure you know what shade lol) but W on its own is a cool turquoise.

  37. I do have vivid dreams, but I'm not sure if that's in any way related to my synesthesia! Your username is #cf8686

  38. Hey I‘d love to know the color of my real name but I don’t have a question honestly. ”Roland“ (male)

  39. Sort of! If I know a person very well, their name might change colors for them specifically based off their personality, and this is more likely if I know multiple people with the same name. It's like in school, how if you had a Jason D. and a Jason G., except for me it's Yellow Jason and Green Jason.

  40. There's so many comments already but if you see this, what is your favorite video game and do colors get in the way of playing them?

  41. My favorite video game is Shovel Knight! I could write several full essays on that game, but I'll save it. Another commenter asked if synesthesia impairs my vision, and I explained that it's less literally seeing the colors and more seeing them in the same way you'd "see" an apple if someone asked you to imagine an apple. Synesthesia can easily become background noise for me because of this, especially if I'm doing something else while listening to music. I tend to usually not pay very close attention to the music in games while playing because of this, but I have given plenty of time to appreciate the soundtracks of my favorite games in the time I'm not spending playing them!

  42. Might be a dumb question… but are certain song genres specific colors? Like is most metal darker and classical lighter? Also have you met anyone else with it? And if so have you compared colors and noises? Luna and Olivia

  43. Not a dumb question at all! This is definitely the case, though it's not entirely consistent. I usually find that certain bands seem to frequent the same colors, but depending on how vast a genre can be, a different group in the same genre might tend towards different colors. In high school, I was very into EDM, and specifically the artists Porter Robinson and Madeon. Porter Robinson I always associate with cooler colors, purple, blue, pink, etc. where Madeon I associate with summery colors like yellow, teal, white, etc.

  44. Hey I have synesthesia too! Your name is white for me (I didn't read anything but the title btw I got too excited lmao) My preferred name, Ian, is black for me. How do you see them?

  45. My kid complains about food I make that’s F#, G, and G#. It’s strange parenting a person who’s objections to food came from piano lessons.

  46. Your kid has a point, G is definitely the popular kid in the group, and sharps have always been obnoxious. I've never associated them with food, but I have to question what you're making to receive such harsh criticism.

  47. Alex is a difficult one weirdly! I know a lot of Alexes so I've started associating the colors of any given Alex more to their personality than their name alone. By default, though, I wanna say Alex is green and reddish-orange. Woodsy colors!

  48. It's a neutral thing I think! It's cool and interesting and fun to bring up in conversation, but it has its downsides as well.

  49. I have multiple forms of synaesthesia as well! To me, my name [Theo] is predominantly green and gold with some earthy tones in it.

  50. That's how I see Theo as well! I have words/letters/numbers/music > color, I associate certain objects or concepts to personality, and I also sometimes get smells from seeing images or hearing descriptions of food! This also happened one time hearing someone describe actual shit and that was fun.

  51. I haven't, but that artist has actually come up on my radar recently! I'll have to look up the song later :] There's sometimes overlap between people with synesthesia's associations, but it's entirely subjective.

  52. It's nice to meet others like me! I haven't found much to tame the tempers, so to speak, but I cope mostly by wearing headphones when I'm around a potential trigger. If you've got any other tips, I'd love to hear them.

  53. I like ASMR, and I do get some synesthesia reaction from it, but not the same way that I do from music. I also don't really get anything from hearing people talk.

  54. It usually comes immediately, but it can sometimes take me a second to figure out what I'm actually seeing if that makes sense! Nick is an earthy green, very comfortable.

  55. I don't have perfect pitch, but I used to be very jealous of people who do! I do have a good ear in general, so I'm pretty good at figuring out how to play songs just off the cuff, but I don't know how linked to synesthesia that is, if at all.

  56. What color am I? I make music and have taken psychedelics before so synesthesia is one of the most interesting phenomenom I can think of :D

  57. Your username is super interesting, and I'm struggling to put a word to the color! It's metallic, and clearly a neutral color like gray, but I also get something like purple or red? I dunno!

  58. My husband has synesthesia as well and has some similarities to you, so he's curious to see if you share any other characteristics.

  59. I've never tried any sort of drug! Admittedly DMT has been super interesting to me, since I have really vivid dreams as is and I'm interested to see how it would affect me, though I don't know if I'll ever actually get around to it in my life.

  60. Does it ever become frustrating? I guess what I’m asking is, does it come with a mental exhaustion from extra thinking being done to assign these colors or is it just a subconscious action like breathing?

  61. I would love to know what you see for my daughter and granddaughter, if you have the time. They are my world. Faythe Harmony (pronounced like the regular faith) Iris Priscilla

  62. I don’t have synesthesia as it isn’t a constant thing, but I find it very easy to associate random things, such as tastes, colours, sounds, feelings, textures, smells, etc. It’s so difficult to describe what I’m experiencing though! I can’t imagine going through this process constantly because sensory overwhelm is a real b*tch so I’m glad I can turn it on and off.

  63. I certainly think so! I'm an artist and a writer, and I think my synesthesia and my neurodivergence gave me a need to describe everything in detail the way I do. I'd love to see more research done on this!

  64. Hi juno! I also have synesthesia, ill return the favour! Your name as is is blue, like indigo. kind of a gradient to green. The letters individually are J (almost black blue) U (orange) N (maroon-brown) O (white)

  65. Does genre or artist of the music affect the colors in any way? Have you ever tried transposing music into a different key to obtain a different color?

  66. I've answered the genre and artist question already in another comment! Transposing music doesn't change the colors, but it does make them more vibrant.

  67. Do colours often have to do with how you see the object? (e.g do strawberries smell red, do blueberries smell blue), or is it random?

  68. I like a lot of different types of music! I'm actually sort of in an in-between phase right now, so it's hard to peg specific artists I could say I'm really into right now. I think synesthesia can definitely play a factor into what music is appealing to me- my most recent obsession was with hyperpop, which is a genre sort of defined by having very textured sounds, affected vocals, distortion, the works. I've always found a lot of those elements very stimulating in music, so while it might be too harsh for some people, it's almost like a playground for me.

  69. I’ve heard of synesthesia. It is strange how sensory inputs get confused in the brain. How does this affect your daily life?

  70. It's less of a confusion and more that they're just linked. My senses are friends! It probably does inherently affect my life in a way I'm just used to at this point, but personally I don't feel much like a "different" person from most other people. Though I bet if I switched bodies with someone they might find it very different and weird.

  71. No, but that's mostly because I don't talk about having synesthesia often, or at least not without introducing that concept to someone first. My fear kinda does come from the thought that if I just said "man I love this song, it's so red" without any prior explanation someone would call me high, lol.

  72. I've never been high before! It's been something I'm passively curious about, but I probably won't try it unless I was easily presented with the opportunity to. It would definitely be interesting to see what it does to my synesthesia, though!

  73. I do this only for music. Im 29 now but back when i was in high school, i mentioned to one of my friends that the orange and black songs usually were my favourite songs. He looked at me and asked what i meant. I told him that songs have colours and the orange and black ones are usually my favorite ones. He asks if i have synesthesia. I look at him and ask wtf is that. He explained it to me. I was super comfused because ive been doing this my entire life and just assumed everyone did this as well. But alas, they dont and there is a name associated with what i can do. I play bass and guitar. I wrote a song not too long ago that was orange and black. The singer we had at the time couldnt sing in the key it was in so we had to transpose it. We changed it from E minor to C# minor. The colour changed and i hated the song after that. The key change gave it a green and white colour.

  74. I’m a psych student and synesthesia has always fascinated me so much. I’ve always wondered, when someone with synesthesia associates things, like in your case colors and letters, do you read words and kind of see the letters in those color, or does it only trigger some kind of idea of the color in your mind? And can it be distracting or cause some kind of stimulus overload if you’re associating too many things at once, or can you become so used to it that you don’t even notice, like it’s nearly subconscious? Also, what color is Philip?

  75. When you see things as color, does it like...color over the actual object in your eye, or does it just conjure the image of the color in your mind? Have you met other people with Synesthesia and if so do you see the same colors as them or is there any correlation between your color map and theirs? Is there any shift over time, ie a thing that used to be blood orange eventually became lime green or something (idk).

  76. This is so interesting. I was so interested in this when I was a teenager. I tend to connect things together , color and like attitude (for lack of a better term ) are often in my head when I read and listen to music but not to the same degree. I often wondered what it was like and if it was a gift or a hinderance, I assume a bit of both?

  77. i was lurking through your account for art examples for vroid since i saw you do that on another thread (i love art a lot so i was like wowie let me look) but anyway i wanted to comment it is SO COOL running into another person who has this (although i have more of a different form)! ignore my username because i got tired of the joke i was making with it, my name is Jens. do that one, if not too late.

  78. Realized I have number form, letter form and spatial sequence synesthesia. I also assign certain things personalities, and see letters as odd and even. I thought it was absolutely normal, then was mind blown to learn people didn't have mental number maps.

  79. Plenty of people in the comments here have said they can't imagine associating things like this naturally. Sure, anyone can come up with associations, but not everyone does it subconsciously. If you find it so mundane, maybe you just... also have synesthesia. Ever considered it?

  80. I first learned about Synesthesia when I read the book Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson back in 2012. It’s such an interesting condition to me and I’ve done a ton of my own research on the subject.

  81. Nice my names Heath, Lathecombe (not really but pretend it is haha. Anywho that does kinda suck the part where you get your flight of flight activities by your condition. How do you deal with your day to day is it difficult to go out or are you confined to home most days how to do you find hanging out with friends and family.

  82. Thank you for doing this. The colors you comment can be incredibly descriptive. Did they evolve as you grew older? Like, when you were younger you would describe it as white but now its ivory or eggshell? Did the colors evolve as you aged or you found the vocabulary to express it as you got older?

  83. My name is Brooke, I also have a friend with synesthesia and she has told me what color I am which I guess is different than what color my name is. But I am still interested to compare, do you feel like peoples colors are connected to their names? (like if someone had a different name would they be a different color?)

  84. I have this also and you described it so well. I always struggle explaining it to people! A lot of people ask if I see auras but that’s not quite it. I’m curious if the color you associate with me is similar to the one I do? P.S. this whole thread is giving me great ideas for Spotify playlists XD anyone else?

  85. Do you think that having synesthesia makes your life better or more challenging overall? Why or why not? I see a lot of specific questions that are super interesting but I would be interested to know how you feel about your situation in general if that makes any sense.. lol.

  86. Thanks for doing an AMA! I think my personal type of synesthesia is wonderful! (I sometimes see closed-eyelid patterns and colors when I listen to music. It's subtle but it's also beautiful and it's influenced me as an artist.) What do you experience with the name Jeffrey or Henry?

  87. Do you ever see colors or shapes with music? I always wondered if I could have some form of this because when I close my eyes with music I can feel dancing shapes, and different sounds have different shapes, if that makes any sense. Also I want to know what color John is

  88. Hi! This Is the first time I've seen someone mention misophonia in the wild. I feel like it's developing later in life for me. Mostly around lip smacking sounds of old people. Weird. If you're still doing name colors, how would you shape Moloko? Cheers.

  89. First of all, thanks for sharing your experience! I'm working on synesthesia for an art video project on how sound emotion can be linked to colors. From your vision, can colors be linked to colors? If yes, what does red, yellow, white or rose sound like?

  90. There is a fictional book series that centers on a man with synesthesia. It's by David Baldacci and the first book is "Memory Man."

  91. Hi. Simon. Intrigued by the “seeing colors when you play an instrument” bit. I’m a guitar player myself, and I wonder what colors you see when plsying “Ace of Spades” (Motörhead), “Master of Puppets” (Metallica), and “Hurt” (the Johnny Cash version).

  92. My uncle has this as well! He's actually one of the first cases in Canada to ever get properly diagnosed and he was then a part of various studies for the next 30 years of his life. He says I'm blue razzberry (not raspberry, razzberry lol).

  93. Hell yeah. I always thought synesthesia would be the “best” neuro condition to have if you get. A cool variant like yours and not, say, a shit one like where certain tones make you taste garbage.

  94. This is the craziest thing to me. As someone with Aphantasia, not only am I jealous of everyone who can visualize imagery in their minds eye, but the fact your brain just produces these by association is so fascinating.

  95. I'm interested in hearing my username's color considering it's just a bunch of numbers LOL. Do you speak another language? If you saw the same word translated into a different language, would they have similar colors?

  96. Hiii and thank you for doing this AMA! 😊 I was wondering, does your synesthesia affect who you choose to date? For example, if the persons' name is a colour that you strongly dislike.

  97. This is super interesting, If you watch a musical are the characters and everything hyper coloured? Or is the music colour like a hue around the characters??? In your mind when you think back about a musical scene for example

  98. How were you diagnosed? Someone in my family has it, and I was told they flipped through a booklet of finely printed random letters and had to spot a certain one. Also, does anyone else in your family have it?

  99. I did some research on this because that's unfamiliar to me- it seems like they took the Synesthesia Battery! I haven't really had access to psychiatric stuff until very recently, so I haven't been diagnosed, but from what I can tell there doesn't seem to be an official method for diagnosis for synesthesia. I don't know anyone else irl with synesthesia.

  100. Does the synesthesia happen all the time or just in certain situations? Sometimes I can hear colors in music. Like it makes a painting in my mind with different notes and instruments being different colors.

  101. My youngest used to talk about being able to see the aura around people. He hasn’t mentioned it in years but always wanted to make sure the dogs had collars that matched their auras!! My name is Dixie Lu.

  102. When you say your senses are libked is it that you can also taste color? I've heard of some people being able to taste colors they see. Also, my name is Sahil so I wonder what color that is lol.

  103. Oh GOD I have misophonia too, I can’t imagine being able to also see it? that sounds like a nightmare. I’m a digital artist, I’d love to maybe know the colors of my username for art ideas!

  104. What colors are different song genres? Like are bands multicolored due to all the different components? Does style like jazz band versus punk band change anything too?

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