Do you know what your name tastes like?

Have you heard of this woman with synesthesia that tells people what their name tastes like?

Synesthesia is a neurological condition where one of your senses, such as taste, is perceived as if by another sense, such as sight or sound. And, it’s a condition I have.

In my case it manifests in colours. When I think of a number or certain letters & words I also see a colour. So every time I think of the number 2 in my mind I see a light blue and the number 5 is red. But it can be different for everyone that has it.

Julie McDowall, a woman with synesthesia, can taste people’s names. Although sometimes it’s not quite a taste but some other sense. On twitter she offered to tell people what their names taste like, and the answers are a little surprising:

Although synesthesia has been known to be brought on by drug taking, sensory deprivation, and brain damage, research show it also manifests naturally in 2 to 4 percent of people (thankfully, because mine isn’t caused by any other reason). And it’s common to run in families.

I’ve had the condition for as long as I can remember, I know I have always associated the colour blue with the number two. However, I only became actively conscience of it as an adult. Prior to that when the colours popped into my head it just seemed normal, like that happens to everyone. But one day the word February caused such a bright yellow in my mind that I could no longer ignore it.

My Aunty was the one that explained the condition to me; she has it too. The type I have is called grapheme–colour synesthesia, where letters and numbers (and some words in my case) are perceived as colour, and it is one of the most common forms.

There isn’t much sense as to what colour is matched with what letter, number, or word, but I know it’s always consistent for me. Sometimes the same colour pops up for different things, like when I think of the number 5, the letter A, or the month of March, I always involuntarily think of the matching bright red. The same light blue for the number 2 is also the colour for June and Tuesdays. I can’t see any connection between these things, other than the colour that is conjured in my mind.

Although it might be considered strange and abnormal, and even as a mental defect, I am quite proud of it. I wonder if it’s the reason I’m creative as well as analytical, I like writing and math. Yes, I know I’m weird, but I’m proud of that too!

And there are a lot of amazing artist in this world that reportedly have it, such as Lorde, Pharrel Williams and Billy Joel! Maybe they’re so talented because they see colours in music, its visual art at the same time as music. Vincent Van Gogh was also a synesthete! Gives another meaning to paint-by-numbers, doesn’t it?

If you also think you have synesthesia (yay for you!) there are tests online you can complete for free. I found this one interesting:

Here are a few of my colour associations: