What is Synesthesia

1 in every 23 people around the world is a Synesthete, according to an estimate. For such a person, numbers and letters are inherently colored. If he do not come across the numbers and letters in those specific colors, it comes difficult for him to read them. This is Synesthesia. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

There are 60 different types of this disorder. Synesthetes suffer from this disorder to various degrees, but mostly remaining unaware. Blindness, Deafness, Epilepsy, Stroke and usage of drugs which alter our ability to perceive are the traditionally known reasons behind this disorder.

How is Synesthesia Caused: Human brain works with the help of its cells called neurons. There are billions of neurons in our brain. Inside these cells, there is a component called receptor. It is this component which sends and receives messages in the form of electromagnetic signals from the other cells. Neurons are connected to each other through pathways known as neurotransmitters. It is through these pathways that the signals or brain messages travel from one cell to another. Researchers believe that Synesthesia is caused when brain signals carrying messages miss their definite pathways and enter in to the wrong ones. This causes triggering of other signals and actions. In recent times, research studies conducted on this topic do not rule out the possibility of a genetic origin to this disorder.

Is it a Virtue or a Vice: For many Synesthetes, this disorder is not a handicap but a virtue on the contrary. They come to know about this ability early in their childhood. It makes them easy to remember names, telephone numbers and do mental arithmetic quickly. For some gifted individuals, this disability becomes a source of inspiration to take up creative activities like music and theater.

A Brief Timeline: Researchers started to learn about Synesthesia by early 1800. But the scientific community lost interest in this topic midway because there were no experimental devices available to prove the claims made by theories on this topic. The subject remained obscured from the scientific world especially between the years 1930 to 1970. Today scientists are interested to know about Synesthesia because it provides a deeper understanding on the normal functioning of the brain. a

1 response to What is Synesthesia

  1. Drug use has nothing to do with synesthesia. One is born with it because the trait is dominant and is required to be possessed by at least one parent to be passed on to the offspring. I am a synesthete and I have never used drugs in my life.

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