You May Be Synaesthetic And Not Know It

We post often about synaesthesia, a strange neurological condition characterized by a link between two or more senses. (A particular musical note "sounds" red, etc.) New research suggests that many more people may have synaesthesia than realize it. In one experiment at McMaster University in Canada, self-described non-synaesthetes associated the smell of certain foods with certain colors and textures. From New Scientist:

When the researchers analysed the results, along with some obvious associations – lemon with yellow and peppermint with smooth, hard and sticky – they found some odd ones.

Significantly more people than chance, for instance, associated the smell of mushrooms with the colours blue or yellow. Lavender elicited the colour green and the texture of sticky liquid, while ginger was perceived as black and sharp.

"The influence of learning is there," (researcher Ferrinne) Spector told a meeting of the American Synesthesia Association in Hamilton on 27 September, "but it cannot explain all associations."

Do we all have some synaesthetic ability?

Previously on BB:
Many more synaesthesia posts