Forum

Synasthesia

I am a great fan of books by the neurologist Oliver Sacks and it suddenly occured to me that people with MS might be more likely to experience one of the conditions he writes about, i.e. Sysnathesia. If you havent come across it, it describes a condition in which sensory nerve paths cross over so that for example flickering light  can evoke the experience of sounds being heard, or seeing certain words evoke a sensation of colour or taste. I say this because I understand that in MS, nerve pathways might get rerouted to bypass damage and I wondered if they could also be misrouted. Anybody know of this occuring sometimes with MS?

As far as I know, that's not the kind of thing that's likely to happen when the brain re-routes round demyelination. It's really cool though isn't it?! Neuropsychology was one of my favourite topics at Uni - absolutely fascinating stuff.

 

One of my favourites is blindsight - amazing ability to detect objects and movement when the visual cortex doesn't work!

 

Yep, I'm a geek!

 

Karen x

Yes terrific stuff that undermines a lot of "common sense" presumptions about things like the mind and logical deduction. I am looking forward to reading his new book The Minds' Eye over Christmas if I can wait that long.

If you want to be seriously freaked out, have a look at Brain Waves, a collection of papers by some of the leading psychologists and neuroscientists all about the implications of what we know and have the potential to know in the future using methods like functional MRI, EEG and other neuroscience techniques. It's not all easy reading, but it is fascinating!

http://royalsociety.org/policy/reports/brainwaves1/?from=homefeature

 

Kx

 

 

Karen clearly knows more about it, but I’ve never seen it listed as a symptom/complication of MS (even a rare one), either.

I do have strong (and permanent) colour associations with days of the week, but I don’t think that has anything to do with MS, and I don’t think it’s synaesthesia, either, because I wouldn’t say I actually “experience” the colours. It’s just that there is a mental association. If I were asked “What colour is Monday?”, I’d certainly say “red”, and Tuesday is blue, and so on. I suppose, at the point of saying, or thinking of, the colour, I do visualise it, so in that sense, I experience it. You can’t think “red” without seeing it in some way, can you?

However, it’s not what I imagine true synaesthetes to experience, which I assume would be indistinguishable from seeing the colour ACTUALLY, rather than just knowing I’m thinking of it.

With me, there’s some sort of logic to it, as Monday, being the first day of the week, is important, and therefore big and red. I think Tuesday (blue) has more to do with the sound of the words (shared vowel sound), as with Wednesday (yellow), and Thursday (purple). I’ve no idea why Friday is orange!

I think the Disney animated classic, “Fantasia” is probably a good simulation of what synaesthesia must be like (the sounds evoking distinct colours and shapes), and it’s even been hypothesised some of the animators must/may have been synaesthetes, which enabled them to have this unique vision.

I’m not sure whether they were or not. To me, it’s evidence of creativity, but not necessarily that they were “wired differently”. Not unless you count all artistic sensibility as being “wired differently”. :wink:

Tina

What a shame, might have been something to look forward to! And thanks for the link, I'll definitely be diving in to that

Bob

Hi Mazza,

We agree about Thursdays and Saturdays. My Saturday, too, is brown. But Sunday is black. Interesting how we both pick colours that (arguably) aren’t colours at all, for Sunday. Even though they’re complete opposites, there’s still a common theme there.

Mine also extends to some numbers - generally those under ten.

In fact, they closely follow days of the week. So Wedndesday and three: both yellow! I wouldn’t know what colour, say, 4012 was. Though in general, even numbers sound bluer than odd numbers. 4012 is going to be something bluish or purplish, whereas 3013 would be back to yellows again!

LoL! I’ll shut up now, as I’m sounding even madder than I actually am - and can’t even blame it on MS.

Tina

I've had it all my life.

Hearing sounds creates images and colours in my mind and I have images that are impossible to describe when I hear music.

The one strange thing that has changed since MS is that when I read anything I can hear myself saying the words like a voice inside my head.

[quote=“Anonymous”]

I’ve had it all my life.

Hearing sounds creates images and colours in my mind and I have images that are impossible to describe when I hear music.

The one strange thing that has changed since MS is that when I read anything I can hear myself saying the words like a voice inside my head.

[/quote] Huh? I’ve always read that way (like hearing your own voice inside your head), and thought it was like that for everyone. I’m unable to imagine how reading would even be possible without “hearing” the words (albeit not out loud). Is that weird, then? What do other people experience when reading? It’s not something I’m especially conscious of, most of the time, because it’s so integral to reading itself. So it’s not anything annoying, intrusive, or sinister. But there’s definitely a voice, and it’s definitely mine, so I’m intrigued that anyone finds this strange or unusual. What was reading like for you before? Did you not hear anyone/anything pronouncing the words? Tina

Thats weird with the months. How do you mean? can you see it as a container of some sort, if so what does it look like? Or is it a sensation of being in it? Does it happen when you hear it or think it, how long does it last? and is it different for different months? What if the months are in french or something? Just interested.