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Synesthesia or the ability to see colour when hearing sounds - is it linked to this strange sensation I get??

(22 Posts)
Ethelfleda Sat 20-Jun-20 21:30:42

This will make probably very little sense for anyone who doesn’t also experience this but I will try and explain it.

For a good long while now, I have noticed that when I read specific text (or sometimes here a song, or watch a TV program) I have a very real sense of imagining a place connected to it. It’s always a place I know, and always in my home town and always very specific.

For example, when I was reading a specific book recently, in my head I was vividly picturing a place around the corner from me, under a railway bridge as though I was in the middle of the road. Had nothing to do with the book.

I’ve just been researching a bit of software all day and in my head, I am involuntarily imagining standing outside a shop in the town centre, with my back to the shop, looking up the street at the church.

Sometimes, I have read threads on MN and I have been up the far corner of the B&Q car park.

Can anyone relate to this at all or do I sound batshit??

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Ethelfleda Sat 20-Jun-20 21:31:38


*hear a song (thanks autocorrect, you twat)

And I disabled voting??

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NervousInYorkshire Sat 20-Jun-20 21:54:25

I don't have exactly the same thing going on, but I definitely get a mental image of a physical place when listening to some music (normally instrumental stuff), not necessarily anywhere I've been but places I've seen photos of or on tv.

I've got the flavour of synsesthesia where words have tastes. I've never thought of connecting the two things before.

Ethelfleda Sat 20-Jun-20 22:05:17

I would love to know the name for it - tried to google but don’t know what to search!

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Lovesabadboy Sat 20-Jun-20 22:11:55


Both myself, and my 23 year old daughter have exactly this!
We call it our 'reading-scape'! As you say, it is absolutely nothing to do with the book or with what you are reading.

I will often be 'in' a shopping centre in Oxford, or on one of the main roads in our town. I have a few different 'reading-scapes'.

Interestingly, just the other day, I realised that I have a similar thing when I am (very specifically!) preparing onions or celery!

I have tried to explain it to friends before, but they look at me as if I am totally batshit and I notice that you haven't had many replies on here, so I think it is something that is actually very unusual.

When I read this I was shock - FINALLY - someone else experiences it!
It is really difficult to explain isn't it?!!

Ethelfleda Sat 20-Jun-20 22:25:59

Lovesabadboy yes!! First time I ever mentioned it to anyone was today to DH - he had no idea what I was going on about! I’ve been googling for ages but can’t see what it might be called...
Don’t think it is synesthesia.
Hyperphantasia is an extremely vivid imagination - don’t think this is it but am asking myself interesting questions about how vivid other people’s images in their mind’s eye are!

I imagine my ‘reading scape’ at the same time as imagining the actual events in the book too... so weird.

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Lovesabadboy Sat 20-Jun-20 23:28:29

Hahaha!! My DH has known about my 'ability' for years, but I still don't think he really understands it. I love that my daughter experiences it too though....maybe it is hereditary - have you tried asking anybody blood related to you if they experience it? My younger daughter doesn't experience it.

Neither synaesthesia or hyperphantasia seem to describe it, but like you say, so hard to Google anything if you don't know what you are Googling!

Yep - the description/events you are reading in the book are totally separate and you can 'see' them both in your mind's eye at the same time.

There is something else that both my daughter and I experience that no one else does, which we wonder if it is connected to this 'ability'.
It will be interesting to know if you have this too...again, no one that I have asked has this either and, again, it is difficult to explain, but I will try...
When we are asleep we have music in our dreams - not connected in anyway to the dream, not a radio/CD playing in the dream, but more of a 'backing-track' that runs throughout the night! When we wake up the song stays with us for the first few minutes and will then fade. We often discuss the music that has accompanied our dreams!!
This will probably sound odd to you, too, but it is worth asking, just in case it is connected!!

recededpronunciation Sat 20-Jun-20 23:35:57

Both my children have this. They also have grapheme-colour synesthesia. Neither my husband or I do. We only discovered it when they were arguing in the back of the car about what colour Thursday is.

Claliscool Sat 20-Jun-20 23:44:08

Fascinating. I had this when I was younger I think, I still think of my old home number as being green and white... But never had reading scapes or back ground music in dreams, fascinating!

Tillygetsit Sat 20-Jun-20 23:49:29

No I don't have this. The closest I come to it is tasting names.

Ginfizplease Sat 20-Jun-20 23:50:58

Thursday is brown with a hint of red smile

OP. I don't think I've experienced what you're describing but I definitely have synaesthesia as does my sibling! Letters / whole words / the calendar /numberline etc. It's like VR in my head and I can pinch bits and zoom in and swivel them round if I want like you would on an iPad.

NervousInYorkshire Sat 20-Jun-20 23:53:02

The only way I can describe Thursday is that it tastes like lukewarm water from the shower.

Mawbags Sun 21-Jun-20 00:06:27

Thursday is a cold meat sandwich being pressed down..... thuuursday

Cattenberg Sun 21-Jun-20 00:15:38

Thursday is dark orange, although it could have some brown in.

When I was about 11, I was reading a Professor Branestawm book about some people who wore a red ribbon on Monday, a green ribbon on Tuesday, a blue ribbon on Wednesday and so on... This made PERFECT sense to me. I was always more sure about the colours of Mon-Weds than the rest of the week.

Collision Sun 21-Jun-20 00:19:21

I have synesthesia......

I’m so fascinated by it.

Colours for days of the week, numbers, months and names.

I also see words coming out of people’s mouths.

My mum had this and so does ds.

I don’t have the taste thing though.

Comefromaway Sun 21-Jun-20 00:21:54

My son has synasthesia. He hears different chords as different colours. It comes in useful when he’s playing by ear.

NervousInYorkshire Sun 21-Jun-20 00:36:02

I love having it. It took me til adulthood to realise that not everyone does blush

frenchonion Sun 21-Jun-20 00:58:11

I 'see' the spelling of words, but especially names. I can't say someone's name without a literal graphic image of the name in my head. Occasionally I come across a name I can't 'see' and I get so spun out. It happens very rarely. It honestly disorientates me if the word image isn't there. It's not a case of not knowing how to spell it as I sometimes come across unfamiliar names / foreign spellings yet still get a 'vision'. Im sometimes wrong about the spelling but once I'm corrected the imagination-spelling changes. But sometimes, rarely, no word image appears, even if I can actually spell the name if asked. It feels exactly like when you lose your footing. I have no idea why this happens!

Ethelfleda Sun 21-Jun-20 06:48:43

Lovesabadboy no I don’t get the music when asleep thing.
Fascinating how differently all of our minds work though!
Reading this thread I am stood outside a market stall in my local town and looking towards a war memorial grin

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Ethelfleda Sun 21-Jun-20 06:50:45

With the seeing dates thing - how do people see these? In their heads or in front of them??

I ‘see’ days of the week and months of the year and years of the last couple of decades as occupying a physical space in my head. It’s hard to explain what it looks like though - it’s definitely monochrome. I think more white writing on a black background and like a conveyor belt in front of me.... and with barriers in certain places like between Sunday and Monday.
I never considered that this wasn’t normal before though?!!

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letmethinkaboutitfornow Sun 21-Jun-20 07:24:06

There is a great book where the main character has this
David Baldacci: Amos Decker series
I am not sure how accurate the book is but I got my ‘knowledge’ from there
I hope it doesn’t cause too much inconvenience ☺️💐

Lovesabadboy Sun 21-Jun-20 23:05:41


Lovesabadboy no I don’t get the music when asleep thing.
Fascinating how differently all of our minds work though!
Reading this thread I am stood outside a market stall in my local town and looking towards a war memorial grin

Ah....well - still to find someone else apart from me and my daughter who have that then!! grin

I love that you get it whilst reading threads as well - I am on a road into my local town - yep - in the middle of the road, not on the pavement - looking down the hill towards some traffic lights!

Totally fascinating!!! I just wish there was more I could read about our 'condition'!!

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