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Printing Style -> Reverse Colour Synaesthesia

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imageOne of the most standing out features of Thomas’ Synaesthesia is colour reversal. He and Skye have two ponies: a grayish white mother and a brown daughter. Thomas sees the mother in black and the daughter in yellow.

His colour reversal Synaesthesia peaked when he started reading a book series called ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ last year. He saw black words and pictures on a page in white whilst actual white background in black. The same synaesthesia has since spread to comic and journal styles of books, and his own writing on paper that has lines as he uses this type of paper to write journal at school.

When he starts reading those styles of books, the black colour straight away comes out of his brain, and turns the whole page in black. This is immediately followed by white colour which turns all words and pictures on the same page into white. He describes that the page looks smudgy. He wishes that he could turn the colour reversal off, but has not been successful. He reads 50% of time in this way.

Failing to find any reference on Internet or any similar cases at a Synaesthesia forum, I gave up searching. Just when you no longer think about it, it comes to you!

This weekend was our once a year AFL football gathering organised by children’s godfather. Thomas’ team North Melbourne went head to head with Skye’s team Essendon. We caught up with their godparents in the city and watched the match with a group of friends.

On the way home, Skye pointed to a billboard and told me that he sometimes could see words in an opposite colour. He saw the black words on that particular billboard in white for a few seconds, then reverted back to the original colour black. I got quite interested and asked him if this was to do with colour confusion or was indeed Synaesthesia. He said definitely Synaesthesia. He further confirmed this by stating that the stimuli usually was the style of printing such as printed words on any packaging and T-shirts. He thinks approximately 5/8 of time he reads packaging labels in reverse colours, e.g., black in white, yellow in brown, red in pink (he thinks red is dark red whilst pink is light red) and vice versa.

After further investigation, I understood that Skye had only experienced all black words in white on a whole book page very few times. It was more a gradual process than Thomas’. It happened when he was half way through the whole page. Gradually all words turned into white. One of the books he experienced this Synaesthesia was Diary of a Wimpy Kid! However, he had never seen a reverse background colour.

Thomas was reading a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid tonight. With great curiosity, Skye pointed to the words and asked Thomas what colour he saw. “White.” Then Skye pointed to the paper and asked Thomas the same question. “Black. Go away, I am reading.”

Skye came to me. “Wow! That’s unbelievable!” I was amused to know that “the King of Synaesthesia” had been overwhelmed by his own little brother’s more weird Synaesthesia. But now I have a new name for this type, i.e., Printing Style -> Reverse Colour Synaesthesia, and realise that my research should always start at home.

One Comment

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