I recently tried an online test called The Synaesthesia Battery and thought it might be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about synaesthesia.
Bear in mind that there are lots of different types of synaesthesia, and within each type are many variations, so it’s very probable that a lot of what I say won’t be experienced by other grapheme-colour synaesthetes, and likewise there will be similarities too – I guess that’s the point of the questionnaire. These are my answers.
When did your synesthesia begin?
Always had it
Can you think of any experiences that could have shaped your synesthetic associations, like childhood colored letter blocks?
Yes it’s possible that alphabet and number charts were the cause of some associations but I can’t remember anything specific. There are some names where I think the colour stems back to the first person I knew of that name (e.g. benjamin is orange, and the first benjamin I knew had bright ginger hair, and John is grey and the first John I knew wore a grey shirt at school when everyone else wore white)
Do you experience synesthesia all the time, or only under certain conditions?
All the time
Is your synesthesia present when you close your eyes?
Does your synesthesia interfere with other activities?
Does your synesthesia ever distract you?
I get distracted by everything anyway, but my synaesthesia does not distract me in a way that I can’t control
Do you feel that paying attention to your synesthetic perception requires effort?
A little. If I am being asked about my synaesthesia I find it difficult to answer the questions because I feel bombarded and get mixed up, but in a normal relaxed environment I have no trouble paying attention to it
Can you ignore your synesthesia?
It’s always there, but only very noticeable when I stop on a word or think about something
Does your synesthesia help you to remember things (by association)?
Numbers up to about 20 are easier to remember, but I think the synaesthesia either does nothing for my memory or just confuses me. Sometimes if I am trying to remember a word I can only remember its colour and not the actual word which is completely useless
Are there any properties of your synesthetic perceptions that make it easy to tell that they are internal (in your head) rather than external (in the outside world)? For instance, is the synesthetic yellow color you may see with a certain number different in any way from a real yellow color?
The colours, although vivid, are in a way transparent at the same time. So if I go into Photoshop and pick the colour for Wednesday, it will never be exact because my Wednesday will be a transparent orange rather than the block of orange I have picked in Photoshop.