"Brain Hacks" Blog Post, Magnetic Digital Agency

One of my responsibilities as an employee at Magnetic Digital Agency was to write blog content for their new Website. 

I wasn't given much more direction than that. As a result, when I was thinking about artificial synesthesia one day, this is what happened.


When I was a kid, I associated songs with colors. I'm pretty sure the fact that "Stairway to Heaven" sounded tan to me was entirely due to the plaster-looking background on the Led Zeppelin IV album cover. However, I made a friend in middle school who had experiences that were harder to account for. 

This kid, when he was taking piano lessons, began to see colors with each note of the scales he had to practice. I tried to understand it as best I could - I thought maybe he was doing the same thing I do - maybe thinking about a picture or a music video when he played a song, but he was insistent: every note had a color, and he heard that note when he saw that color in a large enough swath.

He had synesthesia, a condition/ability that blends senses in a way that - quite honestly - I've always envied. 


Can the rest of us experience any of this? Can we hear colors or taste texture? 

It's well-known that smell plays a large part in our sense of taste, but certain foods, such as the sansho pepper, approach the gap between taste and touch. Sansho peppers do this by including a chemical that causes the tongue to feel as though it's experiencing a mild electrical current. The effect is eerily close to that of licking a 9-volt battery.

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