Are these forms of synesthesia?

Synesthesia, at and near its borders. Lawrence Marks and Catherine Mulvenna Frontiers in Psychology. 2013; 4: 651. Published online 2013 September 26. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00651

I would say a definite “yes”  that SENSORY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY or the PROUST PHENOMENON described in this paper is related to synaesthesia, in fact I would say it is a type of synaesthesia. Just look at how it works; there is a trigger and a triggered experience like in synaesthesia, both are highly specific and can be highly idiosyncratic, there is a set connection between the both, the phenomenon is involuntary and automatic, and the Proust phenomenon is considered to be a type of memory and many of my observations at this blog have demonstrated that synaesthesia can involve memory, is an element of the “method of loci” memory technique and I would argue operates like memory. Yes, Yes, Yes, the Proust Phenomenon is a close relative of synaesthesia. I would even speculate that synaesthetes might experience the Proust Phenomenon more often than others and some people who aren’t synaesthetes maybe never experience the Proust Phenomenon.

Shaunacy Being In Love Makes Water Taste Sweeter. Australian Popular Science. 17 Oct 2013.

I was stunned when I first read this article about a set of studies (details below) that could be regarded as investigations of flavoured emotion synaesthesia experienced by study subjects who are not known to be synaesthetes. I was stunned because the effect of hightened experiencing of the taste of sweetness when primed to be thinking about of experiencing love described in this article seems to be very similar to my own rare experiences of white chocolate flavoured hugs, from the time when one of our kids was an incredibly cute preschooler. All money is on the theory that my anterior cingulate cortex was being activated at that moment, in a big way.

Chan, Kai Qin; Tong, Eddie M. W.; Tan, Deborah H.; Koh, Alethea H. Q. What do love and jealousy taste like? Emotion. Vol 13(6), Dec 2013, 1142-1149.

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  • Kai Qin Chan  On February 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Hi. I’m the first author of the paper about love and taste. I became interested in looking at how metaphors and synesthesia are linked. Can you email me and describe more about your experiences?

  • C. Wright  On February 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I made a resolution in the new year to stop communicating with researchers privately, but I’m happy to answer any questions here in the comments. Below is a link to a description of the sweet-flavoured synaesthesia that I used to experience many years ago when one of our kids, the one with the broad-shaped face, was kindergarten-preschooler age. Even for a synaesthete it stuck me as a strange and unexpected experience, and very realistic. I often experience a subtle type of lexical-gustatory synaesthesia which evokes the idea of foods and a slight hint of flavour, but the white chocolate thing was like having a piece of chocolate melting in one’s mouth. I could even tell you what brand of chocolate – Cadbury’s Dream white chocolate, because it was grainy and very sugary.
    Another type of synaesthesia that I experience that is like a metaphor would be coloured singing synaesthesia, with the counter-tenors in whites and yellows and golds and pinkish, buff and naples yellow effects, and deeper male voices brown or rarely orange, and women’s singing usually red or reddish mixtures. I’ve got a CD of a song with Ute Lemper singing in pure matte white, I figure because the purity of her voice and singing is utterly striking.

  • C. Wright  On February 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    There are black voices too. They sound evil.

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