A linguistics professor in Taiwan tastes in Technicolor. When Sean Day eats beef he sees a rich blue. Mango sherbet generates a lime green with waves of cherry red in his brain. A bright blob of orange foam appears about four feet in front of him whenever Day eats steamed gingered squid. Experiencing color when tasting is rare, but this type of extreme connection between the senses does happen. In a 2005 article in LiveScience , Ingrid Carey, then a junior at the University of Maine, talk- ed about feeling colors—and that her feelings would produce colors in her mind as well. Confusion was orange and powerful was red. Another individual described feeling the months of the year as a flat ribbon that surrounded her body, and each month generated a color in her perception. February, for example, was pale green. These people have a unique sensory condition called synesthesia , where the senses seem to get cross-wired. Senses that should remain separate intermingle in a unique way.The word comes from the Greek meaning “to perceive together” and “joined sensation.” Some synesthetes are like Day and see color when they eat. Others see numbers and letters as having a distinct color. In one study on the condition, a subject recounted how the number 2 was always bright orange and 5 was inherently green, even if they were printed in black ink on white paper.To him, these numbers simply had those colors.
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