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Andrew Petts

Promotions Manager, Within the Woods

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Synaesthesia allows us to understand if the blue I see is the same as the blue you see.

I have what I would call a particularly unique form of synaesthesia. I can taste colours in my food. For example, when I eat lemons they have a hint of green, and that stereotypical fishy taste is almost overpoweringly blue. What I propose is that finding people with similar forms of synaesthesia, and comparing the results of what they taste/hear/see/feel/etc, we can come closer to determining if what we view using standard senses are the same with each other.

I thought of this because I have never found a case online where a person tastes colours (if you know of one, please let me know. I'd be very interested!). With that in mind, I just found out last year that my mother has the same form of synaesthesia, she can taste colours. What I found the most fascinating about this is that she tastes the same green in lemons, the same blue in fish, and every other food we sampled had the same colours associated with it (a third party asked us separately with taste tests). This leads me to suspect that the blue that she sees is the same that I would see, since our sense of taste is almost acting as a redundancy for it in a way.

I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks of this, whether you agree with me or think that I'm way off base. If there are other synaesthetes, maybe you can think of how you're sensing the world compared to other people with a comparable sense.

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    Feb 19 2012: I just did a google search for "tasting" colors and got several "hits." You might start there.
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      Feb 19 2012: There are several hits, but most of them are forum posts with next to no replies, or they are just talking about synaesthesia in general. Most of the hits don't actually talking about tasting colours, they just happen to have the word "taste" and the word "colour" on the same page. In the first 3 pages, I followed most of the links and only one actually had people discussing tasting colours in the way that I described. A lot of them talk about chocolate tasting brown, cotton candy tasting pink, lemons tasting yellow, etc. More about the colour associated with the food than the actual taste of the colour.
      That said, http://www.theperfectworld.us/thread.php?id=1924 that link was actually quite interesting and I thank you for convincing me to search for it again!
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        Feb 19 2012: The other thing you might do is search for synaesthesia forum. You will get many (I just tried), and because of the specific focus of those forums, you may be more likely to find people who share your experience than in a broader community like TED.
        If you do learn something interesting on this subject, do share here.