Friday, 22 April 2016

S is for... Synaesthesia

[image by Stuart Miles from]

Synaesthesia is when two (or more) senses become joined. For example when sounds evoke colour or taste. Musical notes might correspond to different colours; the taste of something may make you see colour; names may make you taste different foods.

It was thought to be a rare condition, but recent studies show that as many as 1 in 25 may have some form of this blending of the senses.

Summer Morris, one of the characters in The Wrong Kind of Clouds has synaesthesia. She has a rare version in which emotions and colours are blended. She describes it as her head being filled with specific colours, depending on what she feels. She is a photographer and senses that she has got a picture 'right' because the colour she feels is an intense red.

I decided that she would be a synaesthete, early on, and in the book, the colours she feels not only help her to judge her pictures, but guide her actions - helping her to know that she is doing the right thing.

The video below describes the more common forms of synaesthesia.

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