Synaesthesia Discovery

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Sound Synaesthesia Series: 6. Hearing Motion


Motion to Sound (sometimes referred as Kinetic to Sound) and Colour to Sound are two other important synaesthesia types that warrant a discussion. Before I embark on another sound series where sounds play a reversed role, i.e., sounds as stimuli, I feel there is a need for me to add two more posts to the previous sound series.

In 2008, a visitor came to a Californian Lab to do some testing. He noticed that a PC screen saver was on, and there were moving dots on the screen. The visitor told a researcher in the lab that he could hear sounds. Fascinated by his statement, the researcher distributed the screen saver test to a much wider audience, and confirmed three more cases. The screen saver test for Motion to Sound Synaesthesia has since become popular.

There are a few different ways of triggering off motion -> sound synaesthesia as I have observed. The first scenario is when a person stays still, but objects around him/her are moving, like the screen saver scenario. Another example is hearing sounds while sitting inside a moving car.

The second scenario is when a person moves fast him/herself such as running. I briefly mentioned it in one of my other blogs “Motion to Sound, Colour and Smell Synaesthesia”. Both my children hear sounds along with their other synaesthetic responses as they run. If Skye spins around 360 degrees, he can hear a regular dwi dwi dwi sound.

The third scenario is when a person sees body movements of another person. Skye hears different rhythms of Marshall Arts for different Marshall Arts movements. Thomas told me one day he went out, he saw people moving which triggered off people scraping the grass sounds. He was five and a half. After that, his Kinetic to Sound Synaesthesia became very noticeable. If he sees people chilling on a freezing winter day, he hears them turning into an ice block (that’s his exact words). When people run, he can hear people stomping their feet.

I started writing this blog more than a week ago, but the image of the screen saver used for the motion -> sound synaesthesia test really bothered me. Even I was not looking at the image, it always came to my mind while I was writing. So I had to put the unfinished blog away a few times. I had object personification responses to both the moving dots and the static image of the screen saver. Can it be a new test for object personification synaesthetes?

I was so buried in writing this blog on the way home after work that I jumped on the wrong train. I am now on a ‘scenic route’ feeling starving. I wish I could taste or smell some nice food. It reminds me of a recent conversation with Thomas. I asked him if he always heard sounds and smelt things when he was running. He said yes always, and 90% of time he could taste things too. He added that it was not only running, but also jogging that he experienced the same synaesthesia.

Some people may find its hard to comprehend this type of perceptions, but I rather like the thought of going for my run or jog, having my synaesthetic music on, smelling nice cooking in the neighbourhood, and occasionally eating a nice piece of cake from the local bakery. A beautiful, simple and happy life to dream for.

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