Can Synesthesia Be Learned?

Can synesthesia be picked up from one’s environment? If “number forms” is a type of synesthesia then there seems to be some evidence for it. Here’s an image of a number form example from Wikipedia that shows the numbers 1-12 in the shape of an clock face:

number-form-synesthesia-pd.png

There’s also a repeat of the general shape between 101 and 112.

Check out Neurocritic’s post on Fisher Price Synesthesia:

a new study has identified 11 synesthetes whose grapheme-color mappings appear to be based on the Fisher Price plastic letter set made between 1972-1990…

…the resultant mappings were “startlingly similar” to the colors used in the Fisher Price toys from their childhoods! And 10 of the 11 participants reported owning the colorful plastic magnetic letters.

Check out the article and also the comments below it. Let me know what you think…

For people who are interested in synesthesia, there is also a discussion thread on this site about a synesthesia training program idea.

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Grapheme-color synesthesia - I see letters and numbers with colors.
Grapheme-weight synesthesia - I also feel a weight of symbols

From my own experience I can tell that synesthesia might be an ability that is learnt in childhood. It appeared when I was learning numbers and first letters. It was subconscious and permanent. When I notice this tendency I was 15 years old. Then I started to improving that by conscious and strong visualization, for this reason my memorizing skills were always on high level.

I can confirm that this skill can be improved but have no idea if it can be learnt. However I deeply believe that it can be, just like any other memory technique (by practice)

I haven’t heard of that type yet. What kinds of symbols trigger the feeling of weight? Do you feel the weight in any specific location?

By symbols I meant all graphemes (numbers, letters, other alphabets, mathematical symbols). When you look at feather you know that it’s soft and light, in contrast to wardrobe which is big and heavy.

The same thing I feel about symbols. For example:
“s” is light
“g” is heavy
“t” is rigid
“b” is soft

My brain created the same associations about weight of symbols, like yours about different objects like feather or wardrobe.
I’m not sure but Daniel Tammet also described similar ability in one of his speeches.


Very interesting. Do you notice any relationship between the weights and the symbols? For example, do you have any association between “g” and some concept that might have a heavy weight?

Which seems heavier between these pairs?
d or t?
g or k? (“g” as in green)
f or v?
j (as in Juliet) or ch (as in cheese)?
p or b?