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16-02-2002, 19:03
Welcome to the Big & Dandy Synaesthesia Thread

Wiki page explanation of synaesthesia:
(or here is the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia)

Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, from the ancient Greek σύν [syn], "together", and αἴσθησις [aisthēsis], "sensation") is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.[1][2][3][4] People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.
Difficulties have been recognized in coming up with an adequate definition of synesthesia:[5][6] many different phenomena have been included in the term synesthesia ("union of senses"), and in many cases it seems to be an inaccurate one. A more accurate term may be ideasthesia.

(click for the rest:)

In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored.[7][8] In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).[9][10]
Only a fraction of types have been evaluated by scientific research.[11] People vary in awareness of their synesthetic perceptions.[12]
Although synesthesia was the topic of intensive scientific investigation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was largely abandoned by scientific research in the mid-20th century.[13] Psychological research has demonstrated that synesthetic experiences can have measurable behavioral consequences, while functional neuroimaging studies have identified differences in patterns of brain activation.[8] People with synesthesia use their experiences to aid in their creative process, and many non-synesthetes have attempted to create works of art that may capture what it is like to experience synesthesia. Psychologists and neuroscientists study synesthesia not only for its inherent interest, but also for the insights it may give into cognitive and perceptual processes that occur in synesthetes and non-synesthetes alike.


Synesthetes often report that they were unaware their experiences were unusual until they realized other people did not have them, while others report feeling as if they had been keeping a secret their entire lives, as has been documented in interviews with synesthetes on how they discovered synesthesia in their childhood.[11] The automatic and ineffable nature of a synesthetic experience means that the pairing may not seem out of the ordinary. This involuntary and consistent nature helps define synesthesia as a real experience. Most synesthetes report that their experiences are pleasant or neutral, although, in rare cases, synesthetes report that their experiences can lead to a degree of sensory overload.[14]
Though often stereotyped in the popular media as a medical condition or neurological aberration, many synesthetes themselves do not perceive their synesthetic experiences as a handicap. To the contrary, most report it as a gift—an additional "hidden" sense—something they would not want to miss. Most synesthetes become aware of their "hidden" and different way of perceiving in their childhood. Some have learned how to apply this gift in daily life and work. Synesthetes have used their gift in memorizing names and telephone numbers, mental arithmetic, but also in more complex creative activities like producing visual art, music, and theater.[11]
Despite the commonalities which permit definition of the broad phenomenon of synesthesia, individual experiences vary in numerous ways. This variability was first noticed early on in synesthesia research.[15]
Some synesthetes report that vowels are more strongly colored, while for others consonants are more strongly colored.[14] In summary, self reports, autobiographical notes by synesthetes and interviews show a large variety in types of synesthesia, intensity of the synesthetic perceptions, awareness of the difference in perceiving the physical world from other people, the way they creatively use their synesthesia in work and daily life.[11][16]
Synesthetes are likely to participate in creative activities.[17] Individual development of perceptual and cognitive skills, and one's cultural environment likely determine the variety in awareness and practical use of synesthetic skills[12][16]
Synesthesia can occur between nearly any two senses or perceptual modes, and at least one synesthete, Solomon Shereshevsky, experienced synesthesia that linked all five senses.[medical citation needed] The type of synesthesia is indicated by using the notation x → y, where x is the "inducer" or trigger experience, and y is the "concurrent" or additional experience. For example, perceiving letters and numbers (collectively called graphemes) as colored would be indicated as grapheme → color synesthesia. Similarly, when synesthetes see colors and movement as a result of hearing musical tones, it would be indicated as tone → (color, movement) synesthesia.
While nearly every logically possible combination of experiences can occur, several types are more common than others.
Main article: Grapheme-color synesthesia

From Wednesday is Indigo Blue.[3] Note this example's upside-down clock face.
In one of the most common forms of synesthesia, grapheme → color synesthesia, individual letters of the alphabet and numbers (collectively referred to as graphemes), are "shaded" or "tinged" with a color. While different individuals usually do not report the same colors for all letters and numbers, studies with large numbers of synesthetes find some commonalities across letters (e.g., A is likely to be red).[14]
As a child, Pat Duffy told her father, "I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line." Another grapheme synesthete says, "When I read, about five words around the exact one I'm reading are in color. It's also the only way I can spell. In elementary school I remember knowing how to spell the word 'priority' [with an "i" rather than an "e"] because ... an 'e' was out of place in that word because 'e's were yellow and didn't fit."[18]
Spatial sequence[edit]
With spatial sequence synesthesia (SSS), people tend to see numerical sequences as points in space. For instance, the number 1 might be farther away and the number 2 might be closer. People with SSS may have superior memories; in one study they were able to recall past events and memories far better, and in far greater detail than those without the condition. They also see months, or dates in the space around them. Some people even see time like a clock above and around them.[unreliable medical source?][19][20]
Main article: Chromesthesia
According to Richard Cytowic,[3] sound → color synesthesia, or chromesthesia is "something like fireworks": voice, music, and assorted environmental sounds such as clattering dishes or dog barks trigger color and firework shapes that arise, move around, and then fade when the sound ends. For some, the stimulus type is limited (e.g., music only, or even just a specific musical key); for others, a wide variety of sounds triggers synesthesia.
Sound often changes the perceived hue, brightness, scintillation, and directional movement. Some individuals see music on a "screen" in front of their faces. Deni Simon, for whom music produces waving lines "like oscilloscope configurations – lines moving in color, often metallic with height, width and, most importantly, depth. My favorite music has lines that extend horizontally beyond the 'screen' area."[3]
Individuals rarely agree on what color a given sound is (composers Liszt and Rimsky-Korsakov famously disagreed on the colors of music keys).[21]
Number form[edit]
Main article: Number form

A number form from one of Francis Galton's subjects.[9] Note how the first 12 digits correspond to a clock face.
A number form is a mental map of numbers, which automatically and involuntarily appears whenever someone who experiences number-forms thinks of numbers. Number forms were first documented and named by Francis Galton in "The Visions of Sane Persons".[22]
Auditory-tactile synesthesia may originate from birth or be acquired sometime in life. It is one of the rarest forms of synesthesia.[23]
Richard Cytowic suggests that the disorder misophonia is related to, or perhaps a variety of, synesthesia. He theorizes that, in the way certain synesthetes have an altered perception of sounds, misophonics exhibit a similar pathology, with certain sounds or types of sound resulting in a specific negative emotional response.[24]

Reaction times for answers that are congruent with a synesthete’s automatic colors are faster than those whose answer is incongruent.[3]
The simplest approach is test-retest reliability over long periods of time, where synesthetes consistently score much higher—around 90% after years, compared to 30–40% after just a month in non-synesthetes even when they are warned they will be retested—using stimuli of color names, color chips, or a computer-screen color picker providing 16.7 million choices.[1]

The automaticity of synesthetic experience. A synesthete might perceive the left panel like the panel on the right.[25]
Definitional criteria[edit]
Although sometimes spoken of as a "neurological condition," synesthesia is not listed in either the DSM-IV or the ICD classifications, since it most often does not interfere with normal daily functioning.[medical citation needed] Indeed, most synesthetes report that their experiences are neutral, or even pleasant.[14] Rather, like color blindness or perfect pitch, synesthesia is a difference in perceptual experience and the term "neurological" simply reflects the brain basis of this perceptual difference.[medical citation needed]
Grapheme-color synesthetes, as a group, share significant preferences for the color of each letter (e.g., A tends to be red; O tends to be white or black; S tends to be yellow etc.,[14] Nonetheless, there are a great number of types of synesthesia, and within each type, individuals can report differing triggers for their sensations, and differing intensities of experiences. This variety means that defining synesthesia in an individual is difficult, and the majority of synesthetes are completely unaware that their experiences have a name.[14]
Neurologist Richard Cytowic identifies the following diagnostic criteria of synesthesia in his first edition book. However, the criteria are different in the second book:[1][2][3]
Synesthesia is involuntary and automatic.
Synesthetic perceptions are spatially extended, meaning they often have a sense of "location." For example, synesthetes speak of "looking at" or "going to" a particular place to attend to the experience.
Synesthetic percepts are consistent and generic (i.e., simple rather than pictorial).
Synesthesia is highly memorable.
Synesthesia is laden with affect.
Cytowic's early cases included individuals whose synesthesia was frankly projected outside the body (e.g., on a "screen" in front of one's face). Later research showed that such stark externalization occurs in a minority of synesthetes. Refining this concept, Cytowic and Eagleman differentiate between "localizers" and "non-localizers" to distinguish those synesthetes whose perceptions have a definite sense of spatial quality.[3]

Main article: Neural basis of synesthesia

rRegions thought to be cross-activated in grapheme-color synesthesia (green=grapheme recognition area, red=V4 color area).[unreliable source?][25]
Dedicated regions of the brain are specialized for given functions. Increased cross-talk between regions specialized for different functions may account for the many types of synesthesia. For example, the additive experience of seeing color when looking at graphemes might be due to cross-activation of the grapheme-recognition area and the color area called V4 (see figure).[unreliable source?][25]
An alternate possibility is disinhibited feedback, or a reduction in the amount of inhibition along normally existing feedback pathways.[26] Normally, excitation and inhibition are balanced. However, if normal feedback were not inhibited as usual, then signals feeding back from late stages of multi-sensory processing might influence earlier stages such that tones could activate vision. Cytowic & Eagleman find support for the disinhibition idea in the so-called acquired forms[3] of synesthesia that occur in non-synesthetes under certain conditions: Temporal lobe epilepsy, head trauma, stroke, and brain tumors. They also note that it can likewise occur during stages of meditation, deep concentration, sensory deprivation, or with use of psychedelics such as LSD or mescaline, or even, in some cases, marijuana.[3] However, synesthetes report that common stimulants, like caffeine and cigarettes do not affect the strength of their synesthesia, nor do alcoholic beverages.[3]:137–40

Colored days of the week and colored graphemes are the most common types.[14]

Main article: History of synesthesia research
The interest in colored hearing dates back to Greek antiquity, when philosophers asked if the color (chroia, what we now call timbre) of music was a quantifiable quality.[27] Isaac Newton proposed that musical tones and color tones shared common frequencies, as did Goethe in his book, "Theory of Color." Despite this idea being false, there is a long history of building color organs such as the clavier à lumières on which to perform colored music in concert halls.[28][28][29]
The first medical description of colored hearing is in a German 1812 thesis.[30] The father of psychophysics, Gustav Fechner reported the first empirical survey of colored letter photisms among 73 synesthetes in 1871,[31][32] followed in the 1880s by Francis Galton.[9][33][34] Research into synesthesia proceeded briskly in several countries, but due to the difficulties in measuring subjective experiences and the rise of behaviorism, which made the study of any subjective experience taboo, synesthesia faded into scientific oblivion between 1930 and 1980.
As the 1980s cognitive revolution made inquiry into internal subjective states respectable again, scientists returned to synesthesia. Led in the United States by Larry Marks and Richard Cytowic, and later in England by Simon Baron-Cohen and Jeffrey Gray, researchers explored the reality, consistency, and frequency of synesthetic experiences. In the late 1990s, the focus settled on grapheme → color synesthesia, one of the most common[14] and easily studied types. Synesthesia is now the topic of scientific books and papers, Ph.D. theses, documentary films, and even novels.
Since the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, synesthetes began contacting one another and creating web sites devoted to the condition. These early grew into international organizations such as the American Synesthesia Association, the UK Synaesthesia Association, the Belgian Synaesthesia Association, the German Synesthesia Association, and the Netherlands Synesthesia Web Community.
Society and culture[edit]

Artistic investigations[edit]

Vision by Carol Steen; Oil on Paper; 15x12-3/4" 1996. A representation of a synesthetic photism experienced during acupuncture.
Main article: Synesthesia in art
Synesthetic art historically refers to multi-sensory experiments in the genres of visual music, music visualization, audiovisual art, abstract film, and intermedia.[11][13][35][36][37][38] Distinct from neuroscience, the concept of synesthesia in the arts is regarded as the simultaneous perception of multiple stimuli in onegestalt experience.[39]
Contemporary synesthetic artists such as Carol Steen[40] and Marcia Smilack[41] (a synesthetic photographer who waits until she gets a synesthetic response from what she sees, and then takes the picture,) have described how they use their synesthesia to create their artworks. They demonstrate the complex interplay between personal experience and artistic creation.
Synesthesia has been a source of inspiration for artists, composers, poets, novelists, and digital artists. Nabokov writes explicitly about synesthesia in several novels. Kandinsky (a synesthete) and Mondrian (not a synesthete) both experimented with image-music correspondences in their paintings. Scriabin composed color music that was deliberately contrived and based on thecircle of fifths, whereas Messiaen invented a new method of composition (the modes of limited transposition) to specifically render his bi-directional sound-color synesthesia. For example, the red rocks of Bryce Canyon are depicted in his symphony Des canyons aux étoiles ("From the Canyons to the Stars"). New art movements such as literary symbolism, non-figurative art, and visual music have profited from experiments with synesthetic perception and contributed to the public awareness of synesthetic and multi-sensory ways of perceiving.[11]
Literary depictions[edit]
Main articles: Synesthesia in literature and Synesthesia in fiction
Synesthesia is sometimes used as a plot device or way of developing a character's inner life. Author and synesthete Pat Duffy describes five ways in which synesthetic characters have been used in modern fiction.[42][43]
Synesthesia as romantic ideal: in which the condition illustrates the Romantic ideal of transcending one's experience of the world. Books in this category include The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov.
Synesthesia as pathology: in which the trait is pathological. Books in this category include The Whole World Over by Julia Glass.
Synesthesia as romantic pathology: in which synesthesia is pathological but also provides an avenue to the Romantic ideal of transcending quotidian experience. Books in this category include Holly Payne’s The Sound of Blue.
Synesthesia as psychological health and balance: Painting Ruby Tuesday by Jane Yardley, and A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.
Synesthesia as young adult literature and science fiction: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson
Many literary depictions of synesthesia are not accurate. Some say more about an author's interpretation of synesthesia than the phenomenon itself.
Notable cases[edit]
Main article: List of people with synesthesia
Determining synesthesia from the historical record is fraught with error unless (auto)biographical sources explicitly give convincing details.
Famous synesthetes include David Hockney, who perceives music as color, shape, and configuration, and who uses these perceptions when painting opera stage sets but not while creating his other artworks. Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky combined four senses: color, hearing, touch, and smell.[1][3] Vladimir Nabokov describes his grapheme-color synesthesia at length in his autobiography, Speak, Memory, and portrays it in some of his characters.[44] Composers include Duke Ellington,[45] Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,[46] and Olivier Messiaen, whose three types of complex colors are rendered explicitly in musical chord structures that he invented.[3][47] Physicist Richard Feynman describes his colored equations in his autobiography, What Do You Care What Other People Think?[48]
Other notable synesthetes include musicians Billy Joel,[49]:89, 91 Itzhak Perlman,[49]:53 Ida Maria,[50] Brian Chase[51][52] and Patrick Stump; actress Stephanie Carswell (credited as Stéphanie Montreux); inventor Nikola Tesla;[53] electronic musician Richard D. James aka Aphex Twin (who claims to be inspired by lucid dreams as well as music); and classical pianist Hélène Grimaud. Although it has not been verified, Pharrell Williams, of the groups The Neptunes and N.E.R.D., claims to experience synesthesia,[54] and to have used it as the basis of the album Seeing Sounds. Singer/songwriter Marina and the Diamonds experiences music → color synesthesia, and reports colored days of the week.[55]
Some artists frequently mentioned as synesthetes did not in fact have the condition. Alexander Scriabin's 1911 Prometheus, for example, is a deliberate contrivance whose color choices are based on the circle of fifths and appear to have been taken from Madame Blavatsky.[3][56] The musical score has a separate staff marked luce whose "notes" are played on a color organ. Technical reviews appear in period volumes of Scientific American.[3] On the other hand, his older colleague Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (who was perceived as a fairly conservative composer) was in fact a synesthete.[57]
French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire wrote of synesthetic experience but there is no evidence they were synesthetes themselves. Baudelaire's 1857 Correspondances introduced the notion that the senses can and should intermingle. Baudelaire participated in a hashish experiment by psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau, and became interested in how the senses might correspond.[11] Rimbaud later wrote Voyelles (1871), which was perhaps more important than Correspondances in popularizing synesthesia, although he later boasted "J'inventais la couleur des voyelles!" (I invented the colors of the vowels!).
Daniel Tammet wrote a book on his experiences with synesthesia, called Born on a Blue Day.[58]
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, is a synesthete who says she experiences colors as scents.[59] Her novel Blueeyedboy features various aspects of synesthesia.

Tests like this demonstrate that people do not attach sounds to visual shapes arbitrarily. Which shape would you call "Bouba" and which "Kiki?"
Researchers study synesthesia raising questions such as how the brain combines information from different sensory modalities, referred to as crossmodal perception and multisensory integration.
An example of this is the bouba/kiki effect. In an experiment first designed by Wolfgang Köhler, people are asked to choose which of two shapes is named bouba and whichkiki. 95% to 98% of people choose kiki for the angular shape and bouba for the rounded one. Individuals on the island of Tenerife showed a similar preference between shapes called takete and maluma. Even 2.5 year-old children (too young to read) show this effect.[60]
Given synesthetes' conscious experiences, researchers hope that their study will provide better understanding of consciousness and its neural correlates, meaning what the brain mechanisms that make us conscious might be. In particular, synesthesia might be relevant to the philosophical problem of qualia,[4][61] given that synesthetes experience extra qualia (e.g., a colored sound).

A similar effect can be induced with psychedelics, it seems to be relatively uncommon when compared to certain other psychedelic effects which are almost guaranteed every other trip. Then again it seems there are some psychedelics which can produce these states more regularly or particular flavors of it. It may also very well vary between individuals

Hopefully you noticed this is an extra juicy topic by the synaesthetic reaction of eyes watering instead of your eyes. JK of course, but please do contribute and add more research articles, media links and other things to enrich this thread.

[original post:]

A couple weeks ago I attended a seminar dealing with synesthesia. I was wondering if anyone else is familiar with the subject or might be a synaesthete. Finally, does anyone have experience with synesthesia in relation to the use of psychedelics?
"Synesthesia is an involuntary joining in which the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense."
This story (http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9511/synesthesia/) from CNN provides some background (you might want to click through so you can see the pictures that demonstrate synesthesia):
[quote]Ever taste a shape, or smell a color?
Neurologist explores strange world of synesthesia
November 25, 1995
Web posted at: 7:45 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Ann Kellan
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Imagine a world in which the senses fuse together; where sounds are seen and words and aromas have color; where the number 10 can be smelt, and fuchsia has flavor. That's the world of synesthesia -- loosely defined as a difficulty in distinguishing between different sensory inputs.
Synesthesia means "joined sensation," and is an automatic physical experience in which one sense triggers off an additional perception in a different sense or senses. For example, a synestheste not only sees the color red, but might "smell" it, too.
Neurologist Richard Cytowic, author of "The Man who Tasted Shapes," said a synestheste's experience forms the building blocks of perception. "They get a sampling of perception at an earlier stage before it becomes separated -- before, that was a sound, this is a color, a texture..." he explained.
The phenomenon varies in impact. It could be a disorder in some, and a perceptual curiosity in others. It is rare however, occurring in roughly one in 25,000 individuals.
But people who experience the phenomenon, the ringing of a doorbell could resemble a series of triangles, or a dog bark could seem like a circle with dots around it. For a more tangible peek into this enigma, synesthestes recommend Walt Disney's "Fantasia," an animated film that attempts to visualize music.
Artist Carol Steen, who is part of the tiny world of synesthestes, says she possesses a "wonderful gift." The shapes and colors she experiences through music and acupuncture, she said, inspire her paintings and sculptures. "I use the colors I see. I use the shapes that I see," she says. "It's like an additional form of consciousness."
Cytowic attempts to provide some insight into the enigma using a black and white placard printed with the word "weary." That same placard, he said, would appear flush with different colors for a synestheste. "For us, the touch, taste and smell, they are all separate," he said. "But for synesthestes, it is not."
For Cytowic, who has spent more than a decade studying synesthesia, it is more than just an unusual phenomenon. He thinks of synesthestes as "cognitive fossils," and believes a search to understand the condition will eventually lead to a new model of the mind.
Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, said:
[quote]"When I see equations, I see the letters in colors -- I don't know why. As I'm talking, I see vague pictures of Bessel functions from Jahnke and Emde's book, with light-tan j's, slightly violet-bluish n's, and dark brown x's flying around. And I wonder what the hell it must look like to the students."
-page 59, What do you care what other people think? by Richard Feynman
People might also find this website interesting: The Synesthetic Experience (http://web.mit.edu/synesthesia/www/synesthesia.html). By the way, I now also understand what the author of House of Leaves was getting at by having the word "house" always appear in blue. LOL
As it relates to psychedelics, according to this page (http://www.rhodium.ws/pharmacology/visualdistortions.html), synesthesia is a symptom of HPPD. This is the first paragraph of the introduction (italics are mine):
[quote]Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and other psychedelic drugs exhibit a wide variety of perceptual, cognitive, and emotional effects that vary greatly between different users, settings, and dosages. Despite the variation in reported effects, there are certain perceptual, especially visual, distortions that are described by a large number of users of psychedelic substances. Among the most common visual distortions are hallucinations of geometric patterns, "trails" that follow moving stimuli, false perceptions of movement in the peripheral visual fields, "halos" around objects, alterations in the apparent size of objects, and synesthesia, the experience of stimuli of one sensory modality as if it were in a different modality ("seeing music" and "hearing colors", for example). Many of these visual distortions are also present in Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), defined by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as the "reexperiencing, following cessation of use...of the perceptual symptoms that were experienced while intoxicated with the hallucinogen" (DSM-IV, 1994; Abraham 1983).
What kind of people are synaesthetes? According to this web page (http://wabakimi.carleton.ca/~sscott2/sam/Synaesthesia.html):
[quote]Synaesthesia is not usually experienced as a disability. Synaesthetes are fully functioning individuals of high intelligence. They often have excellent memories, sometimes aided by their synaesthetic associations. More women than men seem to be affected, and a high proportion are left handed or ambidextrous. Some have trouble telling left from right and have a poor sense of direction. Others experience minor difficulties with mathematics. Synaesthetes sometimes report frequent experiences of deja vu, clairvoyance, or precognitive dreams.
Synesthesia can also be acquired as discussed here (http://wearcam.org/synesthesia/synesthesia_long.html):
is classically seen in temporal lobe epilepsy, head trauma, and mass lesions affecting the medial temporal lobe. Synesthesia may also be induced by sensory deprivation, antiserotonergic hallucinogens such as LSD and peyote, or direct electrical stimulation of subcortical limbic structures.
Opinions? Theories? Experiences?
[ 16 February 2002: Message edited by: Catch-22 ]

16-02-2002, 19:43
Whenever i hear music i can tell what colour it is. I dunno why its just something i've always done. Never tasted any music though, although i imagine some of it would be very palatable :)

Its Pat
16-02-2002, 20:05
I experiance Synesthesia each and every time I do LSD. Primarily when I do, IF I'm around Black lights and Fluorescent Neon Posters (You're tipicle tripping environment!) I perceive this "BERRY" smell associated with them.
When I was younger, living in Southern California we would go to Knott's Berry Farm often. There was this ride called "Knott's Berry Tales" (This ride is now some Dinosaur ride) where you would sit in this car and slowly wind through this ride watching this story unfold (Kind of like the progression of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, same movement of the cars!). The Berry Tale's ride was comprised along the way with many scenes of Dark Rooms with Black lights and Fluorescent colors. For a totally emersion effect, Knott's would pump in this "BERRY" smell. It is this same exact smell I get every single time. Not on shrooms or any other entheogen, only LSD. Its not annoying or anything, just a trip!
[ 16 February 2002: Message edited by: Its Pat ]

17-02-2002, 21:42
Great post catch-22. I was always interested in this phenomenon. I have experienced synesthesia while doing psychedelics. I once watched waves of colored music flow from the speakers, changing with the sound as they filled the room. It was very mindblowing to say the least.
I wonder if maybe this is the next step in cognitive evolution, a visual language. Its an interesting thought.

18-02-2002, 16:19
The French composer Oliver Messaien was synesthetic. He once had to leave the audience at an opera performance because the colors on the stage clashed so badly with his percieved color for G-minor (the key the music was written in) that it caused him to be nauseated.
Listen! Can you smell something?
See the music and taste the stars.

20-02-2002, 04:35
"Whenever i hear music i can tell what colour it is. I dunno why its just something i've always done."
holy shit, i was going to post that exact thing, almost verbatim, when this thread first came up but bluelight was acting slow so i gave up and went to class.
but yeah, i get the same thing. i don't actually SEE the color, but i can "feel" the color.. this happens especially when i'm writing music, and i tend to "work" towards a specific color that i want for each particular song. it helps out a lot in the process.

*CrystalMeth Bunny*
20-02-2002, 05:04
Well, for one thing, Nitrous Oxide smells pink.

Boo Kittress
22-02-2002, 01:22
I experienced synesthesia once during a lsd trip. For me, it was all about color as well. Moods and questions were colors and identifying the color gave me a deeper understanding of the situation. I actually asked a sober friend what color the question was that she just asked me - and she was actually very kind and understanding about it! :) For some reason that night, forest green had some unexplained significance.
I've never experienced it again but color has played an important role in my life. I feel especially sensitive to it now.
Good topic!

28-02-2002, 01:31
Time for my answer!
I have several traits of people who experience synesthesia:
unusual memory patterns being left-handed easily become disoriented (a poor sense of direction) frequently experience deja vu precognitive dreams
I don't know whether I am a true synaesthete, but my symptoms become pronounced when I am concentrating very hard or am under some sort of pressure. When I played competitive scrabble, the different tiles would sometimes take on unusual qualities. I routinely do public speaking, and just yesterday I was in a speech competition and certain words coming out of my mouth had various tastes to them.
Before learning about synesthesia, I had just thought I was being "haunted" by different sensory memories. The symptoms of synesthesia are even more obvious when I am under the influence of psychedelics. I didn't know it was such a rare phenomenon, I thought everyone had these experiences when tripping.
Any other comments?

28-02-2002, 03:46
This one time at a fairly large party I ate around three hits of average blotter. At the party there was a huge wide green laser moving left to right, back and forth... I was kind of watching it out of the corner of me left eye as it was making it's way back towards me. When it actually hit my face I felt an insane feeling like a gentle warm pressure (I don't know how to describe it besides that,it's really hard to explain what light feels like) anyways that feeling knocked me on my ass I was kneeling on the floor trying to figure out what happened for some time after that one... one of the best drug induced memories I've ever had..

28-02-2002, 04:36
Once on a medium dose candyflip at a outdoor party i was watching the stage from afar while the psy-trance thumped. The beat focused in my mind and suddenly i had a LSD revelation: "ah, -that`s- what this song looks like." But it wasnt just a color, it was a sense of the song as s fully formed unique three dimensional object. I wish i could remeber what i looked like though.
[ 28 February 2002: Message edited by: fruitbat ]

28-02-2002, 05:36
That is crazy! I never knew there was a definition for it, but i have always noticed that i associate numbers and letters of the alphabet with colors....and music with colors as well. I thought I was just very imaginative, but I guess it is a real thing (even more so niticeable on psychadelics) Thanks for the info i found it very interesting

28-02-2002, 18:12
I did a research project on this very subject during my junior year in college. I was testing whether or not non-synesthetes would tend to match certain pitches of sound with various colors, shades and tints. Some results were notable, some inconclusive, but of course, it was a college project and I only had something like fifteen subjects.
Interesting stuff, that project had been inspired by my experiments with acid- the first time I really tripped had been the year before that. I highly recommend reading Cytowic's book, "The Man Who Tasted Shapes"... It's a great read, and there are some fascinating case studies. I am still very interested in this matter, but a current lack of ah... synesthesia-inducing chemicals prevents me from exploring it further. I still have hope though. :)

02-03-2002, 16:10
hallucinogens + nitrous = synesthesia

06-03-2002, 04:45
had it once at a party on fourteen hits of fluff.
two fucking scary for words. dont like feeling the electricity of synapses on my tongue.

06-03-2002, 06:44
i'm thinking you get a headache from the substance because it's a scent and some people just get headaches when they smell "smelly" stuff like cologne. i don't see the relation to synesthesia...

21-05-2002, 07:52
Someone mentioned the combination of hallucinagens and nitrous to bring on Synesthesia, but does anyone else have any suggestions for encouraging this to happen?
According to Catch-22's post I should be prone to experiencing it (frequent deja-vu, unusual memory patterns and poor direction sense).

24-05-2002, 04:46
[quote]Originally posted by Catch-22:
Time for my answer!
I have several traits of people who experience synesthesia:
unusual memory patterns being left-handed easily become disoriented (a poor sense of direction) frequently experience deja vu precognitive dreams
I don't know whether I am a true synaesthete, but my symptoms become pronounced when I am concentrating very hard or am under some sort of pressure. When I played competitive scrabble, the different tiles would sometimes take on unusual qualities. I routinely do public speaking, and just yesterday I was in a speech competition and certain words coming out of my mouth had various tastes to them.
Before learning about synesthesia, I had just thought I was being "haunted" by different sensory memories. The symptoms of synesthesia are even more obvious when I am under the influence of psychedelics. I didn't know it was such a rare phenomenon, I thought everyone had these experiences when tripping.
Any other comments?
I absolutely share all those traits with you, 22

24-05-2002, 05:20
There are tastes I have never tasted in any substance, yet they fill my mouth and become overwhelming when I am in certain environments, or certain mindframes, or involve myself with particularly touching nostalgic memories. And when they occur I link back into other memories I have had of them occurring. They have been scattered throughout my life and I realize it to be related to a particular frame of mind, it takes me back to being very young. It happens usually infrequently and I hadn't given much thought to it being synesthesia, until reading this. Seems like a mild form of it.
If I am really into a particular piece of music, I can often sense an aroma or odor of the music itsself (yeah I know it's easy to say "that's the sweaty bastards around you at the party" or "that's all the dank in the air" but it's something different). I think I have only done this with metal music at concerts, but electronic, folk, classical, and some country songs give me this sensation in my car, at home, at shows, anywhere. It's not something that happens everyday either. I'd say it'd be odd to notice it more than once or twice a month, granted of course it's certainly not on a schedule and could occur much more or less at any given time. Tends to happen under a lot of stress/pressure or at times of great achievement/loss. The times when I am most human, I suppose.
On psychedelics, it's more all-encompassing and my perception becomes a sloshy sensory soup, so all bets are off.

26-05-2002, 05:26
When i'm on a really clean weed high, if i get driven in a car and i have my eyes closed, when the road lights go over the top of the car i get waves of heat go through me, its as if i can feel the light go through me.
also i can associate music with shapes.. say, for example, Hits from the bong by cypress hill, i feel as if thats some sort of round shape.
anyway.. w000t

26-05-2002, 17:19
So how do you differentiate between a true synaesthete and a psychotic person (who also tend to experience synasthesia)? The absence of delusions and paranoia?
I second the frequent deja vu and disorientation, I used to get these a lot. But it was right after I quit using ecstasy (and I had only done acid once). I haven't used either drug since (18 months +) and don't really have a problem with it anymore. Still, my visual perception seems to be slightly different from before. My vision is more suggestive; I can look at a blank wall and mentally outline images on it but I obviously don't think the image is there (kind of like the mind's eye being projected onto things you look at). I'm rambling...

26-05-2002, 22:21
excellent, excellent thread! I most certainly believe in this phenomenon and consider it to be one of the most fantastic aspects of the psychedelic experience.
Our minds inherently rely on sensory associations to link memories... certain smells bring just about everyone back to a specific place in childhood (ie. Grandma's apple pie, the smell of the basement in our first house, etc).
I'm curious to hear other's comments on the subject, keep them coming and good job!

27-05-2002, 01:56
Most of the replies seem to imply that the poster has experienced synaesthesia only under the influence of hallucinogens/other drugs (or with light symptoms naturally). I knew I had synaesthesia long before I had ever touched drugs, even when I was very young.
For me, I associate people, music, letters and numbers, rooms, and other places with colors (and the other way around). Any person I have known or know has a color attached to their existence in my mind. For example, my mom is red and my house is yellowish-grey. Of course my house isn't actually any color resembling yellow/gray, that's just the color I associate with it.
I know quite a bit about this phenomenon and am very interested in learning more.
Anyone who would like a good starting point to learn more about it can go here:
What was discussed at the seminar you attended? I have read several studies where the findings show that people with synaesthesia consistently associate the same color with certain things. For instance, a very large percentage (I believe above 50% in most cases) associate red with the letter 'A' (Edit: I found the study here :) : http://www.ncu.edu.tw/~daysa/Colored-Letters.htm . The same results apply to every other letter of the alphabet as well. Thanks for any other information you may have!
[ 27 May 2002: Message edited by: Eh-Empty ]
[ 27 May 2002: Message edited by: Eh-Empty ]

16-07-2002, 16:39
This is a good thread, I wanted to see if anyone else had something to add.
I do experience some of the traits of synesthesia, including deja vu very often, weird memory association (using colours and shapes), and very poor sense of direction. I have experienced blending of the senes a few times, but mostly under the influence of psychedelics (mushrooms, lsd, nitrious, and even weed).

16-07-2002, 17:15
I also fall into the left handad, dejavu, etc category...
Sometimes i associate thoughts or memories with a taste...ive done this since i was young.
I also know what the people above mean by the colour of a piece of music... most common colours are black, blue and pink but you get the odd unique track that has a different colour to it.
These moments of synaesthesia seem to be linked more to emotion than logical thinking for me.
On a side note, the most extreeme case of synaesthesia i have ever experienced was my 1st time on magic mushrooms. The music became a thick floating visible honey like substance that was malleable, bouncable and stretchable... it had an unbelieveable sense of solidity and texture to it that was truly astonishing (still one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life)
I bounced the ball of liquid sound into my mouth and ate it...psytrance tastes *very* nice

16-07-2002, 17:40
a few days ago I was tripping really hard on 5-meo-dmt (25mgs insufflation) and when I came out of the incredible void that I happened to be in, I looked up, and basically, smelled the sun. It was interesting mix of shining burn, if that's understandable. A few words I wrote on it:
Decay into nothingness. Ego loss. Shattered, laying on the ground in a puddle of tears he looks up, and smells the sun. He shakes, cries, and collapses. And all at once, darkness.

16-07-2002, 21:06
I actually have this condition. My mother is a schizophrenic, (modern drug therapy has given her a normal life)and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child, and then later as an adult, both in and out of the military. The condition is a poorly understood one, and often misdiagnosed. In any event, synaesthesia is a common manifestaiion of certain aspects of my particular mental makeup, and was, in fact, formally diagnosed after quite a few visits to a variety of so called 'experts'.
I can tell you that it is not all that similar to the sense crossing that occurs on most psychedelics, with perhaps the exception of the audio-visual elements of a high dose LSD trip. However, there is an element of the condition that is VERY difficult to describe, that being the contextual crossing of sensory data input. Sensory events can actually be transcribed internally as IDEAS, or EMOTIONS, or MEMORIES, which are totally unrelated to the actual sensory event. It can be something as inocuous as leaning on a counter in a certain way, and for that instant feeling as though you are a writer living in Pennsylvania when in fact you are an actor living in LA.
Also, the crossing seems to be less obvious than people might imagine. I have seen traffic lights in colors that are not actually colors, but feelings or memories. I am not talking about the light REMINDING me of something, I am talking about the light actually being the memory itself.
Its very very difficult to describe.
I am ambidextrous, btw, and I have an excellent sense of direction. So I guess I am not the typical, synaesesthiac.
I can tell you that my drug experience has helped me greatly. I am able to ignore outright hallucinations, and I am able to recognise them more easily, as well as recognise any sensory crossing that occurs, with the exception of some occaisional contextual issues.
I have studied my internal syntax extensively, and I believe that all information is language, and vice versa, and that the more incomplete the language is, the more occluded, necessarily , we are. This has prompted me to search for alternate syntax, and the quickest way to discover that is with drugs.
An interesting concept, which was chronicled by P.K. Dick, but which I independently considered as well, is the concept of 'living information', which is immediately and spontaneously illuminating.
In short, information can be thought of as a type of organism, which requires a 'host', or brain, in which it resides in its dormant form, growing, eventually replicating itself in either the spoken word, or a drawing, and reaching its final form in becoming an artifact, or physical object, which is the ultimate form of language, or information. Of course, the relationships of each piece of matter, be it a car or an atom, can also be thought of as syntax, and in fact is necessarily just that.
The whole line of thought has led me to search for a complete language, which, by definition, cannot exist inside one's head, but there might, perhaps, exist a more accurate translation of life.
In my opinion, chemistry is the finest order of language currently available for practical interface.
Anyway, I am rambling again, another trait. Sorry.

17-07-2002, 19:02
Last summer, I worked with a Ph.D. who actually studies synesthesia, although most researchers typically differentiate between "true" synesthesia and other "hallucinations" found in psychopaths, as well as drug induced synesthesia. These types of synesthesia are in a totally different category than either developmental or adult onset synesthesia. I have some great papers if anyone would like a reference. I don't claim to be an expert, but I can answer most questions regarding this issue.
[ 17 July 2002: Message edited by: erica.smerica ]

Aeon Psyche
19-12-2007, 11:23
As far as I know lsd is the only drug that can produce this effect. Are there others? I would like to experience it again. %) And what dose would it require with lsd alone? I'd like to hear about other's experiences with this phenomenon.

19-12-2007, 11:36
Synaesthesia can occurr with most psychedelics, at least in my experience. Mescaline produces quite a sublime and subtle form, that is more powerful then the sense merging of LSD. DMT eradicates all sensory boundaries, so it is impossible to tell for sure whether one is hearing visuals or what; but sensory crossover occurrs with most psychs, and dissociatives. Even a whiff of nitrous, with some thunderous viking-metal will alter the visual content, leading me to think that there is informtaion being fed from my aural regions to visual. I happen to think syanesthesia is actually a more common state, in general, then we realise. As with all things, whilst its comforting to have our senses divided into categories, its somewhat limiting. I certianly never just 'hear' powerful music; it evokes so much more.

19-12-2007, 14:22
...................... As with all things, whilst its comforting to have our senses divided into categories, its somewhat limiting. I certianly never just 'hear' powerful music; it evokes so much more.
Absolutely. Ramp up the Wattage at a good psytrance party, and you'll certainly "feel" the music =D =D

Add a touch of LSD (say 300-500ug, although YMMV) and you'll know what synaesthesia is for sure.


19-12-2007, 15:43
synaesthesia can be a naturally occuring sensation for certain people. there are recognized people who naturally have synaesthesia.

willow11 - when someone has a split brain procedure or is deaf, blind etc... that area that is being unused in the lobe or cortex for that specific sense, another functioning sense will take over part of that specific lobe or cortex. that is why blind people have such good touch and can basically see by touch (like the movie daredevil) and hear extremely well. same for people who are deaf can have better vision etc...

its all about the minds plasticity and ability to adapt to new situations

from what I have read and heard with psychedelics, the synapse firing pattern becomes altered (like norepinephrine) and can affect and confuse different layers of the cortex causing sense confusing. I think this is why synaesthesia happens, like tasting color, feeling music, touching sound, tasting sound, smelling color etc...

19-12-2007, 15:59
The most memorable synaesthesia one has ever had was with good ol' mushrooms. LSD produced the most alive, open eye kind, but is very hard to recall.

Aeon Psyche
19-12-2007, 17:40
"alive, open eye kind"? Can you explain to me why you use those words to describe it?

19-12-2007, 17:52
Sometimes on a good dose of LSD, the visuals move along with music or whatever sounds you are listening to at the time and yoou begin to see music. Words cannot explain it, but it is definetley a common occurance.

19-12-2007, 18:06
Sometimes on a good dose of LSD, the visuals move along with music or whatever sounds you are listening to at the time and yoou begin to see music. Words cannot explain it, but it is definetley a common occurance.
Words can explain it :)

CEV's that are influenced in terms of colour, size and morphing by the sound you are hearing at the time. Similare to a Windows Media player visualisation.

19-12-2007, 18:09
music is noise that thinks

19-12-2007, 18:37
synaesthesia can be a naturally occuring sensation for certain people. there are recognized people who naturally have synaesthesia.

willow11 - when someone has a split brain procedure or is deaf, blind etc... that area that is being unused in the lobe or cortex for that specific sense, another functioning sense will take over part of that specific lobe or cortex. that is why blind people have such good touch and can basically see by touch (like the movie daredevil) and hear extremely well. same for people who are deaf can have better vision etc...

its all about the minds plasticity and ability to adapt to new situations

from what I have read and heard with psychedelics, the synapse firing pattern becomes altered (like norepinephrine) and can affect and confuse different layers of the cortex causing sense confusing. I think this is why synaesthesia happens, like tasting color, feeling music, touching sound, tasting sound, smelling color etc...

I "feel" color, nothing else, but it's definitely not only a psychedelic induced state. I always figured that everyone experienced it till I mentioned it to a doctor once.

19-12-2007, 19:10
i have synesthesia while sober, first of all. when i hear a word i think of a food in the back of my mind... but i won't get into that.

i've seen music on mushrooms, & FELT it surge through my body on LSA. it's an amazing experience. i wish it any tripper :]

19-12-2007, 19:26
while on 2-cb, meditating to Pink Floyd's the Piper at the Gates of Dawn brought me my most spectacular CEVs with a synaesthesia element. but it was more than just a mixing of sound and vision, it was like every thought, emotion, and kinesthetic sensation were interacting visually with the music, all behind my eyelids. and it was far beyond anything a visualizer program could produce, it was like seeing incredibly detailed pictures, images of my own beating heart incorporated into fractals that pulsed and zoomed and then exploded into fullblown scenes of Tibetan monks meditating in the snowy Himalayas.

19-12-2007, 19:57
2ce has produced synaesthesia stronger than lsd for me anyway...

19-12-2007, 20:00
Indeed. 2ce is well known to cause Synaesthesia. I've never FELT music before such as I did on 2c-e. So rapturous.

Max Power
19-12-2007, 20:12
While on acid, I do feel music and visuals merge as one.

But only certain type of music, it has to be mellow or somewhat chill.

Music and visuals seem to flow and mesh seamlessly.

19-12-2007, 20:26
Synesthesia can occur from any psychedelic drug, or when sober. I have heard that some people get it naturally regularly. I can imagine that such a thing could be a bit difficult to deal with at times, if one was confused about sensory input.

So many people think "LSD" when someone says psychedelic. But in fact, LSD is just one of many, many psychedelics, and while it is different from others, it's not the only one that's [i]really[/]i psychedelic. Many people (such as myself) find other chemicals better than LSD at reaching psychedelic places.

I just thought I'd mention this as I see a lot of threads get posted asking about LSD when they really mean to say "psychedelics". Not that this thread is one of those.

Finally, 2C-E has provided me with the most complete and profound synesthesia of any substance, for sure.

music is noise that thinks

Or perhaps it's thoughts that make noise?

19-12-2007, 20:38
2C-E is the one material that has reliably produced synaesthesia each time I've taken it at substantial enough doses (20mg+). Once I actually saw the music in mid-air transforming itself and swirling about. "Rapturous" is indeed a good word to describe that experience.

I find that LSD and mushrooms don't as much, or if they do it's more subtle. With acid the music seems to set the tone for the whole trip and I almost forget that it's there. Same with mushrooms too.

19-12-2007, 21:32
I found that LSD can produce it but not constantly. Never experienced it on mushrooms. DOC & Nitrous is really the combination that seems to throw full blown synesthesia at me...

Although many of the 2cx compounds do so as well.

19-12-2007, 21:47
when i eat the cactus i can see the sound waves, but i'm not sure that this is necissarily synesthesia.

i've def had synesthesia occur before, seeing music, hearing sights, etc.

but on the cactus i can literally see the sound waves come out of the speakers...or out of someone's mouth.

i saw an explaination of the siren effect (the doplar effect?) on the cactus as well...people were walking about 70 ft. in front of me, they were talking, but not very loud. i saw a 'cone' of sound waves come from there mouth into my ear, and their voices sounded very deep. when analyzing this (immediately thereafter) i realized that sound waves sound deeper when they're farther away...like with police sirens, and trains...deep when far away, higher when closer.

this observation of sound waves is really intense though, i went to school on a low dose of cactus (for shamanic practice of course :) ) . in class the teacher's voice was bouncing around the room, and i could hear it approaching my ears.

its like, normally you hear when the sound goes into your ear drum, but on cactus i am capable of seeing the sound approach my ear and slide down into the ear drum. it sounds like its coming down a tunnel actually.

thought i'd share this profound potential for the observation of physics..for it kind of relates to synesthesia. its just a very-clear form of it, no confusion of sensory input.

19-12-2007, 22:10
the doppler effect is related to the speed and direction in which the source of the sound is travelling. when the source is coming towards you the sound waves are compressed and sound higher pitched, when its going away the sound waves are stretched and sound lower pitch. the effect is more pronounced at higher speeds.

anyway, i've had visuals dance around to music on mescaline, but i wouldn't call that synaesthesia, just cev's. haven't taken enough.

19-12-2007, 22:39
Many scientists believe synesthesia is not an issue of black or white, but of degree. Everyone is at least a little bit of a synesthete; it's just far more pronounced in many people. Virtually everyone, for example, associates certain words and sounds with certain shapes and colours ('rough' sounding syllables match up with jagged imagery and bold colours; 'gentle' rolling syllables match up with smooth curves and subdued colours).

One of the controversies regarding this is that 'true' synesthetes seem to form more or less arbitrary links between the senses (the link between number and colour, for example, will be different for different synesthetes), whereas the above-mentioned phenomenon tends to be patterned (virtually everyone tested will match the same sound to the same image). It's possible that some other effect is at work for the common pattern that is distinct from synesthesia, but aside from this detail it operates in largely the same way. Maybe those with more pronounced synesthesia are more likely to make it 'their own' and form unconventional links for psychological reasons, but the physiological mechanism is the same? Little more can be done than speculation at this point.

Regarding drugs, it's pretty clear that psychedelics change the way the brain processes information. Maybe part of that change involves activating dormant neural passageways? The current understanding of synesthesia is that it's due to linkages between parts of the brain that are severed in 'normal' people but remain connected for synesthetes. Perhaps these linkages are merely 'switched off' but remain physically present, and psychedelics reactivate them?

20-12-2007, 02:23
"alive, open eye kind"? Can you explain to me why you use those words to describe it?

It was as if there were bright bright colors all around. Every color of the rainbow. And every shade and hue of every color, constantly mixing, endlessly entertaining. This was at night, outdoors, to the music of a very good three piece band on about I'd estimate 300 ug.