Wellness

What It's Like To Have Synesthesia, A Condition That Makes You 'Taste' Sounds

"The sound of a banjo tastes like Oreos."

For some people, one sense leads to another. For example, a word can "taste" like meatballs or a sound can be "seen" as the color blue. In the video above from Great Big Story, for example, one woman says that her experience of pain includes both color and shape.

These people have synesthesia, a rare neurological condition in which two or more senses intertwine. Researchers aren't sure how many people experience synesthesia, though estimates range from one in 5,000 people to one in 10,000, according to neuroscientist Veronica Gross.

In the late 1980s, a long-term study led by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen confirmed via a series of experiments that the condition was a real neurological phenomenon. Baron-Cohen found that synesthetes' experiences were consistent even across periods of time: Participants who associated 100 different words with color reported the same associations 90 percent of the time one year later.

More recent research suggests that there are cognitive advantages to being a synesthete, such as enhanced memory and creative ability.

Check out the captivating video above to learn the specifics of how some synesthetes' taste, hear and smell the world.

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