Synaesthesia Discovery

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Smelling, Hearing and Tasting Houses: Synaesthesia and Decision Making

Synaesthesia sometimes can turn a decision making process into something much simpler and more practical, rightly or wrongly. I went for a job interview at my current company three years ago, for a position just happened to have the colour of the job title magically matched the colour of my name, according to my previous boss who is a synaesthete (I hope he is not reading this blog!). But I am sure that was not the reason why he employed me :-)

In many ways, we use synaesthesia to perceive, navigate and experience the world. It is hard to ask us not to use it to make decisions.

Thomas has just been accepted by a Grammar school. He was thrilled. He has set his mind and soul on this particular school for months. He had only been to the school once for a school tour prior to last week’s interview. You have to wonder why. The answer is very simple. Thomas was smelling, tasting, and hearing the school buildings and classrooms while he was touring this particular school, more than any other schools he had visited. Therefore, he concluded that it was the best school for him.

This was exactly how Skye chose his new school as well. My husband asked me since when, our children started making those big decisions for themselves. Oh well, at least both of them seem to have good taste.

Both Skye and Thomas have incredibly interesting synaesthetic responses to structures and buildings such as hotels, schools, and houses. Whilst Thomas’ strongest sense is the smell, Skye’s most predominant one here is the hearing. Both also taste buildings and houses.

To Thomas, the smell associated with our own house and our farm house is the same, i.e., wood. Skye hears a quiet and smooth type of music when he sees or thinks about our house. Thomas’ favourite people besides us are his grandparents. His Pop’s house gives him an Indian curry smell. None of his grandparents cooks Indian curry at home, but it is Thomas’ favourite food. His Pop loves doing things around the house and the garden, Skye hears a very busy and messy sound of Pop using an axe chopping a hard wood.

My parents’ house no doubt smells like Chinese food to Thomas, and their neighbour’s house smells like cream. Skye hears a bell ringing as he is walking towards his grandpa’s place. The sound of a boom gate comes towards him when he walks pass grandpa’s neighbour’s house.

Skye can hear synaesthetic sounds from almost every house. Some houses sound like night music (he has trouble explaining); some give him a heavy metal type of music; some provide him soothing farm music and so forth.

Thomas can only smell those houses that he has been inside. The smell, and occasional taste varieties are very broad. They range from fruits, different kinds of food, to a particular classroom smell.

Skye calls their house synaesthesia a playful synaesthesia. He doesn’t know what benefits it provides. All what he knows is it makes them happy. It’s like eating chocolate, may not be the healthiest thing, but gives an individual plenty of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Both children will attend a new school from the beginning of next year. One school is within the walking distance, the other one is miles away from where we live. Both schools were chosen by themselves. I have to think that the decision making process based on synaesthesia certainly allows us to go with our heart.

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