Sensory system

Hearing, touching and tasting in color

I don't know about you, but to me Wednesday is sun-shiney yellow. Tuesday is hunter green, Thursday purple-ish blue and Friday a deep red. Monday is white, a blank slate and a chance for a new week, whereas Saturday is sparkly black. Sunday is gray, the depressing slouch towards the beginning of the work-week, but also a convenient mix of Saturday and Monday.

This color-word association is not a figment of my imagination or an indication that I'm going crazy, but is instead a recognized neuropsychological phenomenon called synesthesia. Synesthesia can be thought of as a crossing of the senses, where one perceptual experience simultaneously expresses another. It is estimated to occur in some form in roughly 20% of the population, with color-grapheme being the most common (1). Here, letters or numbers are experienced as taking on unique and varying shades of color. Apparently the experience that I have is also quite common, wherein units of time - such as days of the week - are also expressed in color. There are up to 60 different forms of synesthesia, including sound-color, grapheme-shape and, my personal favorite, word-taste. In this last one, words or names are experienced as different flavors in the individual's mouth. Reported palates range from buttered toast to berries and everything in between. Think of it as chewing a different flavored jellybean for every person that you know.