Think back to childhood when you looked through your first Kaleidoscope. Remember the amazing swirl of colors that you could see around an everyday normal object? Incredible, right?
Did you know that there are some people that see colors like that anytime they hear music?
No, they aren't crazy and science in fact has a name for this phenomenon.
It is called Synesthesia.
Technically speaking, Synesthesia is when one pathway in the sensory part of your brain is stimulated by a trigger, (in this case music) and a second pathway in the sensory part of your brain, is involuntarily activated at the same time.
Plainly put, when one of our senses is stimulated, another one of our senses ends up reacting to the same stimulus, even though it isn't "supposed" to.
For those that have Synesthesia related to music - what happens is when they hear music, they end seeing a burst of swirling colors in their head all while hearing the music. Both hearing and sight are activated by the stimulus of the music. "Normally", we would only hear music and not see all of the colors that come along with Synesthesia.
Sight is not the only sense that is activated with this condition. There are some people that feel specific physical sensations when hearing music; such as feeling a specific reaction in one part of their bodies.
Music isn't the only stimulus either. For some folks it can even be the taste of food that creates a barrage of colors to go along with the experience of eating the food. Some people feel pain in different colors.
While still somewhat a mystery to scientists, modern knowledge of this event has shown that it is a biological event, not a psychological one; that it is an involuntary event, meaning we cannot control when it happens or prevent it from happening; that it is genetically passed on to other family members; and it happens more in women than in men.
The most common occurring form of Synesthesia is colored-hearing; and most of these visual experiences of color happen inside the listener's mind. In a few cases, the colors seen in response to the music was actually seen outside of the body.
There are several theories as to why and how Synesthesia occurs.
What's particularly interesting about Synesthesia, is that it seems to be more prevalent among artists; especially musicians. A few of the most famous musicians that have it are Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga.
There is increasing evidence today that more performing artists have or experience Synesthesia than other segments of the population. Theories conclude that Synesthesia enriches the artistic experience for many musicians, because they are able to perceive the music in more than just one way; or through more than one neural pathway. It could also be, that because those with Synesthesia experience a richer aesthetic experience, they are led into the arts for their career, because it embraces their unique perceptions better than a non-artistic work environment.
With only about 4% of the general population being labeled as having Synesthesia, this can mean that you are experiencing this phenomenon and not even really know what it is!
There's nothing actually harmful about it to your health or even your mental state. It can interfere with how you process information sometimes, but that is the only "negative" about it.
So if you happen to be one of the few, (yet many in the artistic world) that are able to see colors while listening to or playing music, now you know that you have Synesthesia instead of having hallucinations!
Have you experienced Synesthesia? Tell us what it is like and what you do when you encounter this wild experience!
Stay Tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb to learn much more!
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