Hey, I have been seeing a few people here trying to train themselves to get synesthesia. Firstly, I don’t think this is possible as synesthesia is when two sensory modalities overlap and as far as I have studied in my psychology lectures and textbooks, this is a highly heritable trait meaning it’s likely biological and not learned. Secondly, I haven’t ever used this to improve my mind palaces, all words and numbers for me inherently have colours but that doesn’t really help because I’m not going to just remember a huge floating colour over my bed. I could start colouring the objects that I’ve created with the major system for extra memory but this just seems superfluous. Is there anyone with this condition who has used it to their advantage? Or has anyone ever used colours in a mind Palace? My presumption would be that it would be a much weaker memory than a 3-D object? Any help would be great
Well, there are studies where even just training synesthesia alike associations causes the same kind of brain activity that you would have when you actually have synesthesia. Similarly there are many other kinds of synesthesia associations which occur. Physiologically speaking there isn’t really a reason you can’t train it, its not like your brain regions magically conduct polymerization when you have synesthesia.
There are also some environmental questions since text does not exist before we learn it, yet we have grapheme synesthesia after we learn it, but this synesthesia is restricted to those letters and not foreign symbols??
The issue with these has been that these results stop when you stop training. Brain science, both psychology and neuroscience isn’t really yet at any point to make certain statements. Training can be made better, it never has been optimized for the individual properties that are assumed to make it more effective because it is difficult and expensive to manage in real time.
For using it effectively I suppose that you can try seeing if storing text be it a few words or more is easier for you, like writing it visually in your palace or seeing a picture of high detail text with the colors. Since you would see the colors it may be much more memorable to you than to others.
I have used colors in mind palaces for additional encoding like x^3 being yellow highlights to objects, I have also used a lot of colors and 3d objects to distinguish landscapes, lava ,forests etc. Pure color has been weaker on memory than an object but I have had times where I have used colored panels to encode things and it has gone well. I find it is good to distinguish things with.
Hmm yes, I also have thought about whether the reason for the colours I have chosen is because I was taught them at a young age in that colour. This is especially true with letters of the alphabet as many words are heavily influenced by the colour of the letter at the start. As to whether or not it’s a biological or learned trait, yes normally you could say that the environment has a big impact but don’t most people learn the letters of the alphabet in school and not from their parents? Obviously, I don’t have an answer here I’m only going off the feeling of the way I see and feel words seems fundementally different to everyone else so obviously I have massive bias here and may not be thinking logically. Also, for something to be biological it wouldn’t necessarily have to have its own region in the brain. Even the senses we already know don’t only occupy one region, the regions that we associate with senses are often described rather as “hubs” for that sense. Anyways most of this is guesswork and piecing together different things I’ve learned in neuroscience so take it with a grain of salt hahaha
Anyways the real question is, why are people trying to learn this? I don’t see the benefit personally
People believe it can enhance general memory without adding any load. I think this is the most common reason here.
Furthermore some believe that progressively having synesthesia will enhance intelligence. This stems from the idea of having linked senses must be better than not having them and some popularity to the right brain left brain myth. Something like ‘learning to use both sides of the brain’ , making this more efficient is believed by some to be a route through grapheme synesthesia. Ironically, the attempted tests of developing this even revealed increased IQ scores by a tiny bit, which make people more concrete on things like this. I think the real question to this is when you start going above and beyond and have far too many variations of synesthesia to a specific thing. The idea is likely, start with grapheme color synesthesia if this works then anything else should too, if it enhances memory by n then another form will make this 2n.
I don’t really believe any of this but I do think that the increased discrimination to similar letters/numbers would be valuable test data. It may indeed improve memory and performance, but at the same time it can also make it worse by having a higher load, I find that if I tried visualizing an abacus with different colors it takes a lot more getting used to than without even if the memory is there. On the other-hand the higher-load may improve the ability to deal with multiple colors,especially after years of having this form of synesthesia.
Still things to find out, though it would definitely be difficult for people with color synesthesia to answer a question like ‘what color is this letter’ at a fast rate. I certainly had this issue when I used to have a white ball association for oxygen and pink ball for hydrogen in chemistry class, since the 3d models featured hydrogen as white and oxygen as red, I mixed them up almost every time I wasn’t paying too much attention. I would definitely still struggle more to assemble those diagrams than i should, unless I could just write them down as per their normal chemical formula or full structural/skeletal formula. I wouldn’t really call it fully fledged synesthesia but whenever I hear or see oxygen I see a white ball of gale, and if hydrogen a smoky pink gas in similar shape.
I have this to a mild extent. My mother has it very strongly. When I see colors I experience a tone among other things. I can’t describe it. It doesn’t match anything physical but it’s a definite sensation of hearing a tone. And likewise the tones induce color sensations that I can’t really describe. All my sense are a bit like this. There’s color, tone, texture, smell and feeling and a body sensation all combined. It’s not overwhelming or confusing. Usually the primary sense is dominant.
How do you experience music or visual art. Does this make more interesting or does it seem incoherent?
For myself, I find it enriching and I use it to enrich memory images. I assumed I got it from my mother genetically but it could just be nurture. I could be persuaded that at my level of intensity, it’s something I learned to do but don’t know. She never seemed to consider it a handicap or confusing.
Other’s have said this and for me too, these conversations have been a real eye opener. Normally people won’t discuss their inner experiences - partly because they haven’t really payed attention to what’s going on. I’d always felt one had to tailor the techniques to one’s own brain but I never realized how much variation there is - even among those who are primarily visual.
I don’t have grapheme synesthesia but numbers have personalities and feelings to me. In my case, it does help my memory. Numbers I like get stored in my brain much faster than numbers I don’t like but because strings of numbers are often random, I can just chunk them into numbers I do like and remember them all. Numbers have such a strong impact on me, that even just looking at a number could make me feel happy or troubled. I know the release year of 350+ movies after seeing them once, I think this could be because of my feelings for numbers.
Was it ever harder to process numbers when you were younger? Something like around ages 7-13?
I don’t really know. I never did massive calculations like a 7 by 7 digit multiplications in my head when I was younger but back in elementary school I always got more math homework and special exercises. My speed is definitely the same. When I went to middle school, I forgot my arithmetic talent and rediscovered it after I left middle school.
This is pretty solid evidence then that
is something which without making it more difficult for you enhances your ability to work with numbers.
This is also very informative.
I think it’s similar to the interest in Lucid Dreaming. It’s magic - therefore it confers superpowers.
I can see doing it for artistic reasons but how is this different from training yourself to be more aware and take in more of your environment? My ex was a painter but not at all musical. Colors were extremely important to her, and they had personalities and associations far beyond the senses for her.