Marilyn Monroe is said to have experienced it …
That is, have you tasted green?
Or smelled peach?
Not the fruits, mind you, but the COLORS.
The sensory overlap of taste, smell, and vision is known as “synesthesia,” which Wikipedia defines as “a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.”
Translation: turquoise blue might seem to smell something like peppermint, and pale yellow could trigger taste buds to sense banana.
“Each sense has a pathway to the brain. These paths are parallel to each other. However, in some situations, a crossover from one pathway to the other occurs,” explains ColorMatters.com. “Seeing the color yellow-green may evoke taste sensations of sourness; pink may evoke sweetness. Seeing the color gray may evoke olfactory sensations of smokiness.”
Synesthesia has been described as an uncommon phenomenon, but is it really all that rare?
Here’s a simple little experiment to test your own reactions. When you look at the following images of richly colored gems, do your taste buds sense sweetness or tickle with tang? Do you associate each with a particular flavor or fragrance?
“Color psychologists have long known that our favorite colors tell a lot about us. They’re a manifestation of our emotions and moods, and the colors we prefer also allow conclusions to be drawn about our fragrance preferences,” reports Leffingwell & Associates, an information and service provider to flavor and fragrance industries. “A woman who picks the color combination of yellow, orange, red, and pale green, for example, is not only extroverted, active, optimistic, and positive—she’ll also tend to prefer fresh-floral fragrances.”
I’m guessing that a gal’s palette preference also varies with the day, the season, and so on. As the sun streams through my window this morning, my soul is aglow in a rich shade of yellow—amber, to be precise—and I can’t help but think of honey, mmmm …
Your turn—what colors are you feeling/smelling/tasting today?