What is Colored Grapheme Synesthesia?

  
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September 19, 2019, by Bard Optical

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Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sense causes the stimulation of another.

Color Grapheme Synesthesia, in specific, is a type of synesthesia in which the affected person can automatically associate a letter with a certain color. They most often perceive this color physically by looking at the letter.

Let’s take a deeper dive into how color grapheme synesthesia works, and the science behind the unique trait.

How It Works

Color grapheme synesthesia is a relatively common type of synesthesia, and while the science behind why some of us have this trait may not be easy to explain, its effects are fairly simple in explanation.

Simply put, someone with color grapheme synesthesia can look at the letter ‘A’, and automatically sees the color ‘red’, and so forth. Those with color grapheme synesthesia can associate a color with every letter in the alphabet, and usually can even do the same with letters.

There have been testimonies by those with color grapheme synesthesia that have said that they realized they had the trait when they started memorizing phone numbers, or passages from a book, by color.

Studies have also found that  the color that one associates with a letter is not universal. Rather, while some letters can often be denoted with the same color by two different synesthetes, most experience different colors with the same letters.

Synesthesia, to include color grapheme synesthesia, is usually not a harmful experience, and can rather be a unique and wondrous experience. There are exceptions to this, of course, such as Misophonia.

The Science Behind It

Science suggests that synesthesia is explained by the receptors in our brain. Synesthesia is, scientifically, the connection between two receptors of different sense during the development of our brain.

For example, this study explains color grapheme synesthesia as the color-reception part of the brain retaining neuroconnections with the letter-reception parts of the brain during early development, which explains why the two are linked by visual stimulus.

Types

Although color grapheme synesthesia is one of the most common forms of synesthesia, there are a plethora of other types that can affect a person. Types like:

Music-color synesthesia. This is described as the sensation of sound or music being associated with a certain color.

Tactile-emotion synesthesia. The feeling of a physical object sparks a certain emotion.

Mirror-touch synesthesia. A good example of this is when you feel a part of your body, but you feel as though someone else is touching it instead. For example, someone with mirror-touch synesthesia could grab their own arm, but then become startled because they felt as if someone else had just grabbed their arm instead.

These are only three of the many types of synesthesia, more of which can be found here.

Synesthesia, of all types and varieties, is truly a unique trait that creates and one-of-a-kind experience for those it affects. 

If you think you may be a synesthete, or want more information on the effects of synesthesia, contact your eye doctor today!

Bard Optical