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What is Synesthesia?

Synesthesia is when the brain connects different sensory information subconsciously, like being able to see music, or numbers and letters having colors. Not everybody has this, but it’s estimated that around 5% of the general population have the condition, according to MedicineNet. The most common kind of synesthesia is grapheme-color synesthesia; this is when every number or letter is associated with a color, sometimes patterns. 

What Does it Come From?

The condition is commonly believed to be genetic, passed down through generations and families. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is also evidence of synesthesia being a trait of all people when they are still very young, meaning most people may just lose it with age. Synesthesia is also more common in those with ASD or other neurodivergencies, again according to the Cleveland Clinic. 

How Does It Feel?

This depends, but it comes naturally. It’s not something that requires effort, or you have to think about. A lot of people may not even realize that they have synesthesia because they think it’s just a normal sensory experience. As I’ve stated previously, the most common kinds of synesthesia involve letters, numbers, or even days of the week. Each of these can have a variety of associations, like colors or patterns. Some people can also see music in their field of vision or imagine what it looks like. Any two senses can be correlated. 

My Personal Experience With Synesthesia

I have grapheme-color synesthesia, but I also associate days of the week and music with colors, patterns, and even objects. For example, Thursday is dark purple, and the name Alison is light blue. Sometimes, I don’t even think about it, and I’ll mention it, only to be met with confused glances and a lot of questions. Many people don’t exactly understand, but when they do, it’s fun to sit and compare how you view different things. Overall, having synesthesia has felt very positive for me. It inspires me and keeps me creative, and I think the world would be much less colorful for me without it.

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About the Contributor
Lela Schlangen
Lela Schlangen, Co-Editor
My name is Lela Schlangen, I am 15 years old and a junior at Gloucester Highschool. I am taking journalism 1st semester and it’s my second time taking the course. I take this class because I have a passion for writing and editing, and journalism is a creative outlet for me to vent my interests or concerns. I’m going to make a difference by advocating for others and their rights.

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