people as colours (revisited)

In a previous post I discussed the fact that individual people are also colours to me, and it was different from just the colour of the letters in their name because two people with the same name can be completely different colours.

In a bid to find out why, I posted a message to a synaesthesia mailing list and waited for replies.

It turns out I’m not alone in this. A few people took the time to reply and let me know that they also get confused and forget names because the colours of the people don’t match the colour of their name.

The problem is, no-one seems to know what’s causing the colour response.

Is it a physical feature of the person (eye colour, hair colour?)

Is it their personality evoking the colour response?

Is it our own feelings and emotions that we experience when thinking of the person or being around them?

The more I think about it the more I get confused. For instance, I had a phonecall at work today and the woman was distinctly black on the phone. She told me her name was Karen, which has elements of black and yellow in it, but I don’t know if it was her name or her phone manner/personality that caused me to see black. What I was actually seeing was a fuzzy black I usually see with ‘zoe’ or ‘zara’. I have no idea why.

That’s the great thing about synaesthesia though. It’s just as much a mystery to those who have it as to those who don’t.


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