Question: can people hear colors and smell the letter?

Yes, you can. Of people who are different in such an unusual way of perception, called synaesthetes or sinestetikami .

If to speak a simple language, synesthesia is when people have each letter, note or figure has its own specific color, sound, taste. Condition, phenomenon, concept or symbol involuntarily given an additional quality: color, smell, texture, taste, geometric shape, sound, tone, or position in space. A person can see or feel the sound, hear color, feel the texture or a shape of the melody, etc. for Example, synesthet looks at the letter “a”, and in his mind flashes of gray-blue color, and the number 5 painted in bright black, when a guitar sounds like. The synesthet can feel, for example, blow in the neck, and the note “do” for him as sweet candy on the tongue. Just depending on the combination of stimuli and reactions can be identified about 120 varieties of synesthesia.

Scientifically speaking, synesthesia — a systemic phenomenon of the brain, in which two or more senses, which usually work separately, function together. Synesthetes present, first, a special innate sensitivity to certain things: music, numbers, letters, etc. secondly, the brain mechanisms responsible for sensory characteristics of the reflection of the objective world, more adaptive and flexible than most people. Their plasticity allows the brain synesthete like to “borrow” some of the functions of the sensory properties of when you experience certain concepts, music as a system of sounds, groups of letters of the alphabet, mathematical relations, etc.

Question: can people hear colors and smell the letter?

There are four main types of synesthesia:

— music and color: the perception of music as naturally and spontaneously manifested color spots, stripes, waves;
— grapheme-color: appearance color associations with shapes of letters or numbers;
— phonemic-color a: link, a sound of human speech with different colors.
— phonemic-sound: the emergence of taste associations from the sound of individual words.

Synesthesia — the ability most often not hereditary, but acquired. Can manifest itself even in childhood, and afterwards, in moments of understanding the world, experiences a special life experience. It can take shape only in the interaction with the environment: through experience, training, knowledge. That is, as any other ability, such as mathematical or absolute pitch, she has cognitive, creative and personal value.