I’m a color-graphemic synesthete

No, I didn’t just call myself a bad name. Not in this post anyway. To understand what this is about, we’ll have to go back a minute.

If you’ve spent any time here, or following me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you know I love discovering new bits of information–mostly of the useless variety. I educate and fill your head with fluff.

My generosity knows no bounds.

So when I came across a fun fact stating a small percentage of the human population (roughly 4%), called synesthetes, can taste shapes, see music, etc., I was titillated and went digging.

And discovered–shut. the. fridge. I am one.

Synesthesia is a neurologically based condition in which an individual involuntarily links one sensory perception with another. It’s more prevalent (6:1) in women.

So what does that mean?  When seeing the number 2, I also see the color red. The number 3 is blue, 4 is a lemony-lime color, while 7 is canary yellow.

Apparently, I have a common form of this “disorder” (there are many different classifications) called color-graphemic synesthesia  (1 in 90) where letters and numbers are perceived in colors. I thought everybody saw things this way.

What really pulled me in is that among artists the percentage of people with Synesthesia goes up to 25%, with many considering their colored experiences as a gift–a “hidden” sense they use in their creative process.  A lot of these peeps also have a gift for memorizing, arithmetic, visual art, music and theater.

So…I’m a freak. But (flapping hands wildly) we knew that. Still, it was a surprise to learn that what I refer to as my “semi” photographic memory is a neurological condition with ties to both Autism and Savantism.

When it comes to numbers, I’m rain man with ovaries. Sorta. Every phone number I’ve ever heard, read or dialed is stuffed in my head. I can memorize a 20 digit number with a focused glance. Aren’t you impressed all the way down to your colon? Unfortunately, since I’m not into identity theft or counting cards, it’s not all that useful.

Arithmetic? Nah. Forget that shit. Not my cuppa tea.

Another who-gives-a-flying-fig-leaf benefit is I can identify a movie–if I’ve seen it–with a still shot of any scene. Truly, I’m gifted beyond all measure.

I will take your butt to da flo’ in Scene It!


Notable Synesthetes include the great Billy Joel, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Tori Amos, Marilyn Monroe, Geoffrey Rush, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Wonder.

Both Lady Gaga and Jimi Hendrix are proposed Synesthetes and under review by the American Synesthesia Association.

Got any weird genetic disorders you wanna share?

*all information found at psychologytoday.com and wikipedia.com


8 thoughts on “I’m a color-graphemic synesthete

  1. I’m the daughter of a man who has a genetics PhD. Let’s talk recessive genes. 🙂

    Two of my toes a partially webbed and my pinkie fingers are angled away from each other. (Go on see for yourself. Turn your hands palms up and place your pinkies next to each other. Most people have pinkies that are straight. Mine angle away from each other.)

  2. That is so interesting! I hadn’t heard of that before. Remind me not to leave my credit card out near you! ;D
    I don’t think I have any weird genetic disorders or know of any crazy ones. I do think color blindness is pretty interesting too. My DH is color blind. I like to mess with him- “Nice pink shirt, babe.” “What?! It’s grey!” Lol… Hours of entertainment… ;D

    • Oh yeah, I’ll remind you…after it’s memorized. Bahahah! Actually, color-blindness is listed as a form of Synesthesia. I bet you do have fun with that. What woman wouldn’t?! Teehee!

  3. That’s actually really cool. Now I’m jealous of your disorder… 0.o

    By the way, you’re officially nominated for the Liebster award, partially because you usually make me laugh. 😉 (Sometimes, you know, I’ve got my mouth full and laughter is therefore inadvisable.) Come by my blog tomorrow (April 4) after 10 for full details – essentially, it’s a way to honor blogs with fewer than 200 followers for being cool and inspiring and such. And, also, you know – to drum up a little publicity for their underappreciated blogs.

  4. Numbers in color. Hmm. Even if I’d ever even thought I had this condition, working in radiology for so many years would have diminished my “ability.” In every department I’ve ever worked in, x-ray jackets are filed numerically and color coded for fast access. 1 is burgundy. 2 is yellow. 3 is orange. 4 is lime green. 5 is forest green. 6 is blue. etc. Guess digital x-rays are doing away with the need for x-ray jackets so maybe I’ll start seeing numbers true colors? lol! My “talents” besides having a head full of useless knowledge is a keen sense of smell. I can even smell (and taste) medicines and shots when injected. A savant, I am NOT. And math is definitely NOT my forte.

    • Yep, I’ve always seen colored numbers. Never thought a thing about it until I read up on Synesthesia, and then I was like, “Holy #$%#! That’s how I see letters and numbers!” I wasn’t, however, fooled into believing I’m a savant–unless a scathing sense of humor qualifies one for high intelligence. In that case, I’m genius! Bahaha!

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