|Trends in Synaesthesia|
|Because of its rarity, and because many synaesthetes don't realise that their synesthetic perceptions are abnormal, scientific studies of synaesthesia can be fairly inaccurate. Research has revealed the following trends:
~ Synaesthesia is thought to be very rare. Estimates of its rate of occurence vary greatly (i've read anything from between 1 in 2,000 and 1 in a million!!) but the most commonly agreed upon figure is about 1 in 25,000.
~ Synaesthesia is generally thought to be genetic, dominant (as opposed to recessive), and probably carried by the x-chromosome. Many synaesthetes have synaesthetic parents/siblings, or at least a family history of some of the other traits listed below. (To my knowledge I have no synaesthetic relatives, but most other synaesthetes I have contacted do.)
~ It seems female synaesthetes are far more common than male synaesthetes (as mentioned above, synaesthesia is probably carried by the x-chromosome). (I'm a girl)
~ It seems that synaesthetes are almost always very intelligent. However, it might just seem this way because famous synaesthetes include geniuses such as Ludwig van Beethoven, poet Vladimir Nabakov (and some other artists and composers I've forgotten the names of). Also, "intellectuals" in the scientific world, etc, are more likely to discover that synaesthesia is not normal. (I'd like to agree with this theory, don't know though.)
~ Synaesthetes are far more likely to be left handed or ambidextrous than the general population. (Not me.)
~ Synaesthetes often have a tendency to confuse left and right.
~Synaesthetes often have an appalling sense of direction. (This is definitely me!)
~Synaesthetes often have a good memory for the triggers of there synaesthetic associations. The association with colour/shapes, etc. aids this. (Yes. Whenever I have to remember a number i try to remember the colours. I also remember my French vocabulary really easily. I guess stuff stays in your mind better if you visualise it.)
~ Approximately 15% of synaesthetes (and/or their first degree relatives) have ADD/ADHD. Synaesthetes are also far more likely than the general population to have neurological abnormalities such as dyslexia/hyperlexia, dyscalculia/hypercalculia, perfectionistic traits, obsessive compulsive behaviour, depression,autism, eidetic memory, prosopagnosia, etc. (I have ADD and there's a strong trend towards ADD/ADHD on my both sides of the family. Many of the synaesthetes I know have one or more other neurological conditions.)
~Synaesthetes may be prone to hypersensitivity to light, sound, smell, touch, etc, eg they might be unusually ticklish, or feel overpowered by even a small amount of perfume. I suspect synaesthetes just find normal amounts of stimuli excessive because our sensory input is already multiplied by our synaesthetic reactions. (I'm a highly sensitive person but that's probably just a symptom of my ADD and synaesthesia.)
~Synaesthetes may be more prone to migraines than the general population. (I've had heaps of migraines in the past, as has my father.)
~ Although synaesthetes are generally probably as social as the next person, the vast majority of synaesthetes I've contacted describe themselves as being essentially very solitary people. This could be partially due to the tendency towards hypersensitivity but I think that this is mostly due to the fact our brains function differently (especially if we have other associated neurological disorders) so we can't help but feel somewhat isolated. (I have plenty of good friends but I often just prefer my own company. Although it pisses a lot of people off, I don't see anything wrong with my tendency to isolate myself.)
~ Compared with their overall intelligence, synaesthetes are often terrible at mathematics. (I'm piss-poor at maths....I got 27% on my half-yearly exam...)
~ Synaesthetes are usually creative, often talented at music, art or poetry.
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