SYNAESTHESIAthe colour of numbers, letters and words Who else out there is synaesthetic? I see every word, letter and number in a specific colour. It helps me remember names, phone numbers and even to do my times tables. It also make me like some words and numbers better than others depending on their colour. (Four is a lavender colour. Its so UGLY! This year I am turning 33.. it is a lovely Green! My name is a bit ugly because it is aqua, but my surname and middle initial are a vermillion red which is nearly my favourite colour) Here is a film I made a few years ago showing what colour every letter and number is. I have the most common, garden variety of syneasthesia, called Grapheme Synaesthesia. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it: ‘In one of the most common forms of synesthesia, grapheme → color synesthesia, individual letters of the alphabet and numbers (collectively referred to as graphemes), are “shaded” or “tinged” with a color. While different individuals usually do not report the same colors for all letters and numbers, studies with large numbers of synesthetes find some commonalities across letters (e.g., A is likely to be red).’ I have read other studies that show that ‘K’ is also very commonly red. I know other syntesthetes will be annoyed if the colours don’t match theirs. My Mum also had it but saw most things a different colour (and every number over three digits was just grey – which was weird). Endless arguments and outrage ensued in our household when I was a kid. Apparently, people with word synaesthesia actually comprehend information more slowly if it is in a colour which is discordant with their association, and more quickly if it is the right colour. This is the same as the “Stroop effect” where people have trouble saying the colour of a word if the word is the name of another colour. Try it. You’ll get a feeling for how it is for me when the colours are wrong. More information about synaesthesia here: Wikipedia Types of Syneasthesia 10-disadvantages-to-synesthesia I have seldom felt my synasthesia to be a problem (except at Tullamarine Airport where the colours for the parking levels are wrong so I can never remember where I parked my car because I remember the colour which relates to the wrong number. Frustrating!). This article talks a little about how it can cause problems for maths. I have mostly found it helpful for maths. relationships exist between both the numbers and the colours. Fives are red and 10s are black. This makes all multiples of fives and tens relate to each other and are reinforced by their strong solid colour. 3s are green and 6s are blue. This makes all multiples of 3 and 6 relate to each other in a nice ocean colour scheme for me, making them relaxing to deal with. 7s are yellow and 8s are navy blue. I don’t know why but 7 times tables are tricky because of colour and 8 times tables are impossible. Navy blue numbers are so hard to manage!