I don’t know if this is the case for many colour synaesthetes but for me, people appear to have colours regardless of their names. I don’t know if it means that I experience colours in response to personalities or whether it’s something else such as my brain putting people into categories, or the emotions I feel towards them.
I know for certain I’m not talking about any mystical auras here, I just mean that personalities or the emotions I feel towards a person seems to affect how I think of them in terms of colour.
This is why, as I have mentioned before, three separate Johns can be three separate colours.
If I think of a generic John I think of grey. But specific Johns, people I know, aren’t grey. The colour matches up to them and not their name.
You might think that having colour associations with names would make it easier to remember them, but annoyingly it just confuses me most of the time.
For example, in one of my previous jobs I worked with someone called Rich. The problem was that for the first month I knew him I kept going to call him Matt and really having to stop and think before I opened my mouth. Rich has always been a certain shade of red for me, but the colour I was perceiving around Rich was a dark blue, which is the colour of a generic Matt (I know, it sounds ridiculous). For this simple reason it took me weeks to remember his name.
The most peculiar thing to me is that my name doesn’t have a strong specific colour. The name Lauren does have a colour, usually yellow, but when I think of Lauren in terms of myself I can see lots of different colours all jumbled up. I can only assume it’s because I can’t easily categorise myself like I do with acquaintances, because I know everything about myself but only the surface or persona of an acquaintance. This is what makes me think that I have synaesthesia in response to emotions and personalities not just words.