Investigating Spatial Sequence Synesthesia

spatial sequence synesthesiaDo you visualize numerical sequences in physical space? How ’bout days of the week, months in the year, or years in the past decade? If Wednesday’s floating to your left, and 1999 is situated just above your head, you may be experiencing spatial sequence synesthesia. Since several readers have inquired about this form, I thought it appropriate for a post topic. As far as tests go, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss. This form is relatively self-explanatory. Perhaps some of you, though, who’ve had similar experiences, mightn’t have thought them to be synesthetic. Let’s dive a little deeper!

Sequences in Physical Space

When we talk about visualizing sequences in physical space, we’re not talking about outer space. If you can see that far, you’re dealing with something far more esoteric and mystifying than synesthesia. In fact, we’re talking about the space around you – your “bubble”, if you will. If – when it comes to numbers, dates, and sequences – you visualize entities in your immediate vicinity, there’s a fair chance that you’re familiar with this type.


Spatial sequence synesthetes might have a tough time convincing their friends and family members that they’re seeing what they claim to be seeing. However, Dr. David Eagleman has no trouble believing in this phenomenon; after all, he is a neuroscientist (working at the Baylor College of Medicine, no less). Appropriately enough, Dr. Eagleman’s lab has actually developed a sort of virtual reality, in which synesthetes can map their spatial visualizations. The findings are quite interesting; you can get a quick briefing by reading his abstract. There are several takeaways, of course. What I find most compelling (and in hindsight intuitive) is that the research supported “the possibility that SSS is directly related to the sequence representations in nonsynesthetes” (Eagleman, 2009). Month visualizations, for instance, were generally mapped from left to right, which is consistent with the “directional bias” of Western speakers.

A Memory Advantage?

One study, conducted by Julia Simner of the University of Edinburgh in the UK, found that spatial sequence synesthetes have a built-in and automatic mnemonic reference. In other words, where the nonsynesthete needs to create a mnemonic device to remember a sequence (like “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally.”), the synesthete can simply reference their spatial visualizations. Read the full coverage of this study on ScienceMag.org. It’s worth the five minutes it takes to peruse. So, really, there is a subtle memory advantage. It isn’t eidetic (or photographic), though.

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This is certainly one of the most interesting forms of synesthesia that I’ve written on, and I’d love to learn more. Feel free to share your experiences anonymously, if you’d like! I’ve been tossing around the idea of publishing a collection of anonymous synesthetic experiences, with the thought that it might be beneficial for others to reference. Of course, all experiences published would be with the permission of the sharer, and (as I mentioned) each synesthetic experience would be published anonymously. Do share your thoughts on this, loyal readers!

That’s all for now, though! Whether tomorrow’s on your left or on your right, make it a fabulous day!

Credit for this image goes to People.Brunel.Ac.Uk

82 Responses to “Investigating Spatial Sequence Synesthesia on “Investigating Spatial Sequence Synesthesia”

    • by regina parker ciliax

    I am a student who has several varied reasons for interest in this subject and area.

  • Hi Travis and Regina,

    I can do this, but more easily by visualizing sound and music than dates. See http://www.highexistence.com/topic/visualizing-sounds/#post-5864

    As for mnemonics, I don’t recall based on linear sequences. I’m not an audio verbal sequential learner at all.

    I’m a visual spatial learner, hence I recall information starting with big picture and discover significance; more about visual spatial learning at
    http://gypsyschoolhouse.blogspot.com/2011/03/visual-spatial-learners.html
    and http://www.visualspatial.org/spatialstrengths.php

    Cheers,
    Lloyd

    • by Travis

    Thanks for the comment, Lloyd. Awesome links! It’s certainly interesting hearing about how others learn.

    • by Jackie

    When I saw this article I was floored because I have been experiencing this my entire life. I actually that I was the only person like this. The picture above is almost exactly what I see. My days of the week and months have different positions and when I explain it I receive strange looks. :-) My long term memory is out of this world. I can go back years ago and tell you what you were wearing, place, exactly where you were standing, who else was around, and numerous other things when we were having a conversation and etc. Thank you so much for posting this because it has helped me tremendously!

    Regards,
    Jay

    • by Travis

    No problem, Jackie! I’m glad that you found it helpful!

    • by Samantha

    Hi! I’m a synesthete who sees the months as having a particular location relative to my own body. I would be happy to share my experience.
    I have always had a “mental calendar” and never thought it was anything out of the ordinary. About 5 years ago, I was talking to my parents about a trip we were going to take in a few months’ time. I gesture a lot when I talk so when I mentioned “the trip in July,” I pointed up and to the left where July was (it was January at the time). A few minutes in to our conversation, my dad got a little distracted and asked why I kept pointing up. “What’s up there?”
    When I told him it was July, he looked at me like I was crazy and became frustrated. He didn’t let the topic go until my mom chimed in and told him to stop. “That’s just how her calendar is. My July is down here. It’s not a big deal.” My mom and I have very similar ways of thinking so I wrote the incident off and didn’t think much about it until my neuroscience course in college. The professor explained some forms of synesthesia, and while doing some research on my own, I discovered that my mom and I have time-space synesthesia. After asking some family members, I found out that my mom’s brother and sister and all their children have this as well. However, our calendars can differ greatly.
    My calendar is like a big ring. If I think of the year as a whole, January and December are at the bottom, and from Jan at the bottom right, the months continue up counter-clockwise to June and July at the top and back down to Dec on the bottom left. Also, my past (more than 2 years ago) is to my back left and the future (more than I year from now) is to the front right. Also, whatever month it is appears directly in front of me. Some of us have clockwise calendars or linear calendars, and one cousin even has her months associated with specific colors.
    I hope I haven’t rambled too much. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    • by Me

    Travis,i will give you a small example among the many things that i experience…whenever i see or hear the name “euclid” i can see an aircraft with a cone flying beside it.sometimes its just the cone.there are many more things.do i have this synesthingy?

    • by Travis

    Hey Samantha,

    Awesome share! It’s cool to see how the location of different months differs from synesthete to synesthete. Thank you so much for sharing your experience; this is exactly what I was looking for. :) We’ll be sure to mention this on Twitter – @SynesthesiaTest

    • by Travis

    I feel a little weird saying “hello” to myself, but here it goes:

    Hello Me,

    Thanks for the comment. It’s hard to say, really. This seems like a pretty subjective experience. Have you tried our simple test?

    • by Zize

    Hi,

    I tend to see my letters differently, they all have different shapes based on the word they are in or the context of the sentence. Its kind of hard to explain. For example while growing up, “B” in Book always looked like an actual open book and “C” in Cup was a cup. My calendar runs diagonally, i have like 20 or so different handwritings and my accent changes based on whom i am talking to. Kinda keep it to myself cos u know what happens when u tell people stuff like that.

    • by Audrey

    Hi, I have spatial sequence synesthesia, as well as grapheme -> colour and music/sound -> shapes and textures.

    I visualize the weeks and months as a kind of ascending line towards the left. I can zoom in or out but the line moves so the present is always central.
    Actually it’s not a straight line, it’s curvy. Periods of the year have different colors. I can zoom out a lot and see my life time.
    I can also visualise centuries, but strangely, that calendar goes from left to right.

    I used to have a very precise memory of when events occured, but i feel it becomes a little less clear as the years go by. The timeline is not a simple as when I was a student.

    I use the ability to place events in a mental timeline for my work : as a film editor, it’s quite convenient. :)

    I also see numbers in a kind of ascending line, with which i can play when solving arithmetic problems (simple ones, i’m no Daniel Tammet! ;) )

    I’m writing abour that because you seemed interested, but to tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m really curious about how non synesthetes actually think about time, I don’t understand how people can function without visualizing it.

    • by Travis

    Hey Zize,

    Thanks for sharing! Nothing to be ashamed of, of course, but I can empathize with your not wanting to spill the beans. When others aren’t fully aware of phenomena like synesthesia, it can be hard for them to understand such things. Seems like you have a lot of unique experiences!

    • by Travis

    Hey Audrey,

    Thanks for sharing! While it might not be a “big deal,” per se, I think that when individuals like you voice your experiences, others having similar experiences get some reaffirmation. Many people have synesthetic experiences their entire lives without any knowledge of synesthesia.

    It’s interesting that you have become so accustomed to your visualizations that it’s hard for you to imagine living without them. I would guess that non-synesthetes have the same trouble imagining living with these experiences.

    Again, awesome stuff. Thanks for stopping by! Happy travels.

    • by Audrey

    Hi Travis, thanks for your answer. When i say it’s not a big deal, it’s because I think of synesthesia more like a spectrum that most people experience on some level (like the “kiki – buba effect” you wrote about kind of shows). Not really like something super strange.
    Especially this kind of synesthesia.
    Actually, I can understand how grapheme – colour or sound – shape can be hard to imagine, because for me it is hard to imagine, for example, sound-taste synesthesia. But spatial sequence? I’m sot really shure why it’s a synesthesia at all.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting website.

    (And sorry for my poor english, I hope it’s clear enough!)

    • by Haley

    Hi. I recently discovered that I have grapheme color synesthesia and spatial sequence synesthesia. I would have never even thought about it being strange or odd until I read about it about a year ago. I find it particularly interesting that while most people with spatial sequence have the months around them in the same place, I visualize myself wherever I happen to be on the circle like the one above. For example, right now it is August, so September is to my right and July is to my left. Across the way is February and March. However, it will change as the months do. I also do this with the days of the week and Years. I also am known to have an excellent memory for certain events and what people were wearing. Although my memory for day to day things is average, I seem to remember particular events, even if they were unimportant. It’s good to know that other people share this with me!

    • by Travis

    Hey Haley,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Interestingly enough, how you describe your spatial sequence synesthesia is just as I’ve always imagined it. And yes, there are plenty of others out there! Stop back!

    • by nattyblonde

    I have spatial sequence synesthesia for months and days of the year; for example my daughter’s birthday in late October is in front of me and slightly to my right (the entire circle of the year, with January starting at my body, is about 15 feet in diameter). My birthday is in January so I don’t know if January starting at me is related to that or Jan being the new year. Like many of the responses I thought everyone had some sort of concrete “vision” of how to understand time. I do a lot of what I’ve thought of as “associative” memory that is probably somewhat synesthetic. Interestingly, although I envision time in space, I have an AWFUL sense of actual direction (ie in unfamiliar cities and in malls).
    However….SSS is not my strongest synesthetic experience. As you might imagine, my very strong orgasm –> color and taste synesthesia isn’t something I bring up in casual conversation!

    • by Madeline

    I realized that I had synesthesia after learning about it in psychology class. My friend was describing her experiences as a lexical-gustatory synesthete, and had mentioned that she heard some synesthetes see the months of the year like a football field. I was shocked, because her description fit my vision perfectly! Since then I have done some research and discovered that I have number form synesthesia. I see months of the year, days of the week, letters of the alphabet, times of the day, year dates, ages, the past and future in specific orders in my head; I continue to realize more of my mental maps are actually a result of synesthesia. I am not sure if I have spatial-sequence though, because while I can describe the locations relative to me, they are not extremely specific or vividly before me. As for the possible connection to better memories, I do have an excellent memory. I am very competitive and seem to remember grades (for myself and others) dating years back, as well as important dates. It’s been awesome learning of others who have synesthesia too!

    • by Travis

    Madeline,

    Thanks for the share! I think most readers share our sentiment that it’s “awesome learning of others who have synesthesia.” Reading through all of these different experiences (now including yours) is so fascinating! Perhaps we’ll do our next post on number form synesthesia, specifically.

    • by Shea

    I realized I had synesthesia after hearing a radio documentary about it. Then I found a research website where I could test what kind I had and to what degree. I wasn’t surprised to find that mine was strongest in the Spacial Sequence type. The research site even has a test where you can place each month of the year in a horizontal Spacial grid and adjust the height of the months. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing since I didn’t think anyone else perceived the calendar like this. My months also have a strong colour association with each of them. My months are laid out in a distorted oval that is tilted upward at the front and downward behind me. December and January are in front and upward with the months moving clockwise; April to my right, July & August behind me with September sweeping up from the left behind me and October & November completing the oval on my left back up to December. My mother was always amazed at how I remembered everyone’s birthdays in our large extended family. I think the mnemonic reference of the calendar was the reason it was easy to remember all those dates. I’m not aware of any other handy uses for this condition.
    I’m glad to hear from others who have it to.

    • by Michelle

    I only discovered last year that I have spatial sequence synesthesia. For as long as I can remember, at any mention/sight of a number, that number would appear on a timeline in my mind. Here’s how I knew I have synesthesia: the timeline never changed. It’s always been the same clock-shaped timeline with the same off-white numbers against the same black background, with each number having a different fixed distance from me. A slightly similar thing happens with years/centuries. And often, I visualize a calendar when a date is brought up. It’s difficult to explain it all! Ironically, with all those timelines running through my synesthetic head, I am terrible at math! However, my memory, although not perfect, is great. I remember many conversations word-for-word, which admittedly, is a burden at times, as not all conversations are good ones.

    I’m so glad there are others out there who are like me! :) I’m 17, and whenever I mention my timelines to my parents (which does not happen often), they think I’ve gone a bit mad…

    • by Travis

    Shea,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’m guessing you’re referring to the Synesthesia Battery (at synesthete.org). When individuals are looking for a more in depth testing experience (and more granular results), that’s where I point them. A lot of great stuff over there.

    Glad to hear that you find the others’ shares interesting, as well! Stop back!

    • by Travis

    Michelle,

    Thanks for the comment! Great point about the consistency of your experiences – consistency is one of the signs we look for in could-be synesthetes. You bring up another common trait in your reference to the position of the numbers on your spatial calendar. It’s as if the numbers are floating in physical space at varying distances.

    Happy to hear that you’ve found everyone’s shares to be a bit enlightening! And thanks for contributing your story!

  • Great post! So I’m actually rescraehing synesthesia as my Ph.D thesis work (I also have it), and I have a handful of comments/questions. First, I’m intrigued that you no longer experience synesthesia anymore. I’ve heard so many anecdotal reports that people had it when they were young and lost it sometime during the teen years that I’m starting to think it might be influenced by hormones. I know it’s hard to pinpoint a time when you stopped having it, but do the teen years fit with your timeline?As for time-space synesthesia, I think that term is a misnomer (although it is definitely out there and used often). We run the Synesthesia Battery (www.synesthete.org), and after analyzing thousands of synesthetes, we’ve coined a phrase for a new category of synesthesia that encompases several types. These types are: grapheme-color (numbers and letters), weekday-color, and month-color. Turns out, if you have any one of those 4 types, you’re more likely to have another of the 3 than a random person in the population. So these 4 types cluster’ together, and we call it Colored-Sequence synesthesia because it involves associating color with over-learned sequences (Novich et al. 2011). As you’ve probably guessed, half of the cluster involves time (weekdays and months), but we think it has more to do with the fact that it’s a sequence than the fact that it represents time. Thusly, I think the spatial aspect (what has been called time-space) is actually just an objectification of that sequence such that you can turn it around in your head, change perspectives, move through the sequence, etc Last question: do you have any family members who have synesthesia? It definitely runs in families, possibly on chromosome 16 (Tomson et al. 2011). If you’re ever in Houston, we’d love to have you drop by.

    • by Cyndie

    I have spatial sequence synesthsia. I could never explain it to my family, but happy to learn it has a name. I see letters, numbers, weeks, months, years and days. My week is kind of circular, almost teardrop, pattern that floats flat in front of me. Mon is on my left (west) Tue in front of me, Wed to my right(east). It then turns north and Thurs and Fri are on the east side. It then curves west for Sat and Sun on the north side. Sat and Sun are longer sections that equal M T & W on the opposite side. Sunday night connects back to Monday. I cannot plan an outing or think about a day without this pattern automatically popping in my mind. My calendar year is similar with the summer months longer than the rest. Dec and Jan are east and June July and August are west. Years in general are in a long line in front of me, with before 1900 turning left far away from me and 2000 turning right close to me. Numbers are harder to describe. It is a strange pattern with turns and spirals and ascends as the numbers get higher. Always the same, never changed since childhood. All of this floats in space in a constant pattern, but I sometimes move about the pattern depending on what I’m thinking of, like my age, a math problem, etc. I have always been good at math and directions, but I think my memory is average. I like reading everyone’s postings on this.

    • by Travis

    Cyndie,

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Agreed on “everyone’s postings.” This is getting to be quite the collection! Stop back!

    • by Mackenzie

    Hi!

    I definitely have this (I think), but mine is a little different. I have everything grouped into centuries, going all the way back to around 1500 B.C. and forward infinitely. However, the more I know about a certain time period, the more detailed or expanded it becomes. Like with the 1900s, it is split into decades, and then some of the decades are split into years (depending on how much I know), and then the “important” years are split into months (i.e. My mother was born in July 1972, so the year 1972 is very detailed and bright to me). Another is the 100 B.C. – A.D. 95, which I know a good bit about, and this time period is bigger to me than the others immediately before and after it. Everything that is past is in a straight line to my left, and everything that is in the future goes to my right and fades away. I’m able to focus in on years and zoom in down to the hour.
    Then there are the months. They are in a shape like a backwards “D,” and each month is a different size. For example, December and January are very large, and they are the flat side to the “D,” on my right (I suppose because they feel longer?). Also, the months are different colors: December is bright red, January is ice blue, May is sunshine yellow, and August through November go from deep gold to burnt orange to brown.
    The days of the week are much the same as the months, but they are in a normal “D” shape, and Saturday and Sunday are very large, like December and January. Then the days break down into hours, with the nighttime hours being larger, but taking up less space than the daytime hours. Also, day hours are somewhat yellow while the nighttime are darker.
    One last weird thing – It seems like certain time periods are colored. The 1900s are very brassy-gold, and the time of the Roman Empire is very gray and crackled, like stone.
    Sorry for being so long winded, but I am seriously excited about finding out about this! I think it is awesome because I thought everyone did the same thing. I do wonder if this is maybe linked to having higher intelligence?? Because my parents have always been told that I was “gifted for being gifted” (such as with the gifted program, not sure if you all know what that is). So if you know anything about that, I’d appreciate it.
    Thanks:)

    • by Travis

    Wow, Mackenzie – great share! These experiences – given that they’re involuntary – sound very much like synesthesia. And quite involved, I might add! While I’m not sure that synesthesia can be linked directly to higher intelligence, I would guess that there exists a positive correlation between the two. I am familiar with gifted programs, actually. Congrats on your involvement!

    • by MKP

    Ever since childhood I’ve had a mental map of the week – Monday is close to me on the right and the rest of the week stretches away from me going left, with the weekend wrapping back around clockwise to touch Monday. I see the hours in the day as stacking up from lowest, early in the morning, to highest, and scheduling things fills in time-slots like shelves! I also find that when I take notes or doodle while listening to something, when I look at the writing, I can replay whatever I was hearing like my pen is a needle in the groove of a record! I’m looking forward to learning more about synesthesia–it kind of feels like a not-all-that-useful super power :)

    • by Travis

    MKP, thanks for the comment! :) Great share. I like the super power angle, I have to say. Best of luck w/ the learning!

    • by Lynn

    I just heard about synesthesia and was curious if that strange way that me and both of my daughters visualize days of the weeks/months of the year, etc. I thought maybe everyone did it but after quizzing my daughters- and learning that they visualize them much differently than me, but definitely visual them. (I thought my way was the way everyone ‘saw’ them!) Then when I continued my quizzing of friends, they looked at me like I was crazy.

    How fun to learn about this!

    • by Travis

    Lynn,

    Thanks for the comment. Fun it is, indeed. Awesome that your daughters will grow up aware of synesthesia!

    • by vijayasree

    sir,
    i identified four subjects who have personification of numbers and letters but they do not have color synesthesia. my question is they come under synaesthete group or not?

    • by Carol

    I took the test at synesthete.org and discovered I have spatial sequence synesthesia. As with many others commenting here, I assummed everyone had these little mental maps. I am 67 years old. I contacted my sibs and my children to see if any of them have anything like this and the answer was NO but now they think there is something weird about me. I see days of the week in front of me but the position changes depending on the actual day. For example, Sat/Sun is on the left on Mon-Wed. but moves to the right on Thurs Fri etc. I visualize the year as an oval ring with Jan at 1 o’clock and July 31/Aug 1 at 6 o’clock. I see ages of people with birth to 12 on an acending slope; teen year as horizontal; then 20′s start up a slope that gets steeper with age. I also see decades as other have mentioned. When I count such as stitches on a needle, I see them acending, as well. When I point to a date in space such as April 15, I do it exactly the same regardless of where I sit or stand and always have. Nothing is behind me as other have reported. Most things are directly in front of me. Depending on what I am thinking, the numbers may roll, so to speak, like get brighter when I focus on it with numbers behind it, on the left, becoming dimmer. My husband is a psychologist and was very surprised at my little quirk. On the test, there was a section on visual imaging, setting out scenarios…think of a beach etc. I completely see eveything in all detail much like a full color movie. He doesn’t do this at all which was a surprise to me since, again, I assumed everyone can call up these images. Maybe that is why my brain is so cluttered. I don’t have any extraordinary skills. Best of luck with your work.

    • by Travis

    Hey Carol – thanks for the awesome share! It’s great to hear such a detailed explanation of one synesthete’s experiences. It seems like spatial sequence perceptions are a common nerve amongst readers. Happy travels!

    • by Travis

    Hey vijayasree – there are many different forms of synesthesia. It’s quite possible that an ordinal linguistic personification (OLP) synesthete will not also experience grapheme-color synesthesia. Hope this helps!

    • by Robbie

    I’ve always had this. Some of the colors of each month are indistinct or at least hard to explain. Some colors are similar. I never thought it was odd, I always assumed EVERYONE thought like that. I feel cool now! :) Haha! THANKS! VOTE ROMNEY!

    • by Zeynep

    Finally got some people who would not think I’m crasy when I talk about my awkward experiences. When I was child, I told my dad that we gonna move down to June in a conversation, he looked at me strangely and said “June is not down there, it’s a month”. That was the moment I realized it was special to my perception. Since then I didn’t talk about it with anyone.
    2 years ago, while searhcing the term synestesia, found out my experience has a name and there are others like me. I took many of the test on the net. My strongest synestesia type is SSS I think. Years, months, hours have their own unique sequence as well as numbers. I can show you the place of World War II, a king in the history, birthday of a friend, my university enterance or the new year celebration. A 250.000$ house is always upper side than 300.000. Apart from my general number sequence, clothes and other usual shopping prices have a different one. For each language I learn numbers are in different sequence. There are tens of sequences maybe. I take them for granted so much that most of them I maybe dont even realize. Each day I find out I have a sequence for this or that too.
    I have personification type too. Its for each letter and number. I know which is male which is female. Some are tall, some fat, some well educated, some always wear suits like A. They have age. It’s valid for Arabic letters too I think because I learned it in my childhood. I started Japanese alphabet but apparently they don’t have personalities. Only the months are in color, dont know why. Some voices have visual image and somne smells have color. I hate the color orange. I had a perfume which smells exatly like orange, -not like a fruit orange,impossible to explain how- and I hate it too.
    I have a very strong visual memory, I can date back to a meeting and tell you who wear what, sit where and etc. Especially the locations. On my daily road,I can easily recognize if a building is painted, if a new board is put up or an advertising changes even small changes.Who ever I saw, even years later I can remember where I have seen. And also their voices. But I can poorly recognize names.Sometimes even my class friends, people I know very well. I’m very bad in directions too. Still mix my left and right. Dont know if they have anything to do with my synestesia. Shared to see anyone experiencing similar stuff among synestetes. Thanks for the website.

    • by Travis

    Thanks for the share, Robbie! For the time being, Synesthesia Test is politics neutral! ;)

    • by Travis

    Awesome share, Zeynep. Thanks for sharing your experiences in such great detail!

    • by Colleen

    I just learned I have SSS – i didn’t know it’s a ‘thing.’ I am also eidetic, and i can visualize pretty much anything with great vividness and detail. i can remember places and incidents clear back to my infancy – i even remember processing the world before i had language. like Zeynep, days of my week have personalities (thursdays are flat-out charming), and my sense of direction is wonky – often by exactly 180 degrees. While I don’t have any type of color synesthesia, i am a tetrachrome (I can see more colors than a lot of people). mackenzie’s time structures appear to be similar to mine.

    When I was in kindergarten, i could not understand the concept of time. I was otherwise quite academically advanced, so this was incredibly frustrating. I learned to tell time and read calendars, but it had no meaning – just clear (empty) words. For a while I thought that clocks and calendars actually generated time. When my parents bought me a watch to help me with the concept, I was so worried about stopping time that I became obsessed about winding it and rather quickly broke the watch due to over-winding (imagine the subsequent hysteria).

    Still the question persisted – ‘what the heck is a tuesday?’ I did understand yesterday, today and tomorrow, before and after tho. Then one day it all clicked – hours and minutes and days and years just STORED certain amounts of time, which repeated in cycles within each other (why didn’t they just say so?). Once I got that, I consciously built a structure in my mental space to hold time (the images of the elements just appeared, but i organized them). Years are elliptical (with months running counter-clockwise) and stack on each other, with the past stretching infinitely towards the bottom and future towards the top. when i need a specific date, the tower of years slides up or down from its ‘present’ resting place at eye level, and the correct year lights up. I swing open the year, find the month and remove a standard monthly calendar vertically embedded in it (like a honeycomb in a hive), then the correct day-box physically rises out of the calendar and stands out.
    How do non-sss people do it?

    • by Travis

    Thanks for the extensive share, Colleen! :) Always interesting!

    • by Kathy

    Samantha (above) described my SSS almost exactly. I was surprised as an adult to find that others dont know where the months are, the days, ir the 24 hour “loop” that obviosly snakes up and over me, like a roller coaster. i cant imagine thinking of November in the location where it is and has always been.I also get the comments from others that they can tell you where historical years “are”, and how time is moving us forward. How do people keep track of numbers any other way?!

    • by Kat

    This is all amazing, fascinating, curious and weird to me. I am researching the topic because at 45 during a meeting at school I learned the way I visualize the months, numbers, years and days of the week is not typical and has a name. I immediately went to my desk and googled number synesthesia… The pictures that others had drawn made me gasp as they looked so similar to how I see theses things- minus the colors. My calendar surrounds my body like an oval in space. Days of the week exist in a line that moves in an oval kind of wihin the calendar. I always access these images when I think or talk of days and months. The numbers 1 to 10 are in a line connected to the teens and then they are in rows of decades until about the 200s when they vanish. I see place values in space up to the billions. I cannot do mental math without visualizing where the numbers are in my number lines. I think it slows me down at times. The years back to BC are also in a pattern that appears in space jutting away from and past me fot the future when I talk about time. It just happens. I can’t stop it. I am not sure how I feel about it…. It’s just who I am. I am stunned that not everyone has this experience. Thanks for letting me post.

    • by enya

    Hi!
    I just heard about synesthesia a week ago. I also have SSS, didnt know it really was something. I noticed this summer I dont really have “a sense of time” in a linear sense. I haven’t really thought about it but my mom made me pay attention to it. And we noticed that I “see” time, events etc as if I were surrounded by it, and can go back whenever and however. I see time especially months as colored blocks surrounding me with the cold months with colder colors of course. Sometimes it causes a problem for me because im “inside” the time and I loose my sense of time because I see all the months and events equally surrounding me. But mostly its just very helpful, because the memory is beyond great!

    • by Travis

    Thanks for sharing, enya!

    • by Travis

    No problem, Kat. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • Hi!
    Im not exactly sure if i have SSS or not, but I do have systems for weeks, numbers and letters. I recently discovered that I have a system for months too, at least for December. My sister told me she was jealous because I’m having three weeks of christmas holiday this year. Surprised, I told her she was wrong, it would only be two weeks. As she counted the days aloud, I had to agree with her, it would make three weeks. I discovered that my calender has deleted the week between christmaseve and new years eve. I guess the huge yellow-lightening 24 at christmas eve, just calls for all the attention.. Finally I know the reason for my wondering every year when christmaseve has passed: Why do I have so much time untill the year ends, and why diddn’t I make any plans with my friends!??
    This year I am deffinitly going to do something this “forgotten” week – I feel so gifted with time! :-) Unfortunately my calendar still refuses to accept this week..

    One last little thing: I wonder if SSS has any influenze on how synesthetes feels the corners of the world? I can almost always “feel” (And not because of the sun!) where north, south etc. is. I have always wondered why. My father has a bit if synesthesia too, and he’s able to do the same thing.

    • by Travis

    Thanks for sharing, Lene! You pose some interesting questions. Perhaps someone else will’ve shared some of these thoughts.

    • by Tuija

    Hello!
    This is indeed a very intriguing topic.
    It has been such a delight for me to learn about synesthesia. I experience SSS when it comes to days of the week, seasons and months of the year, years, people’s ages and just plain number sequences. Also, I can see the alphabet – at least partially – in a certain formation in front of my eyes.

    For example, the days of the week run counter-clockwise around a round-cornered rectangle that’s lying on it’s long side. So, Sunday is located at the upper right corner, Monday right next to it on the left, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday that come right after Monday. They are very tightly next to each other… But Thursday takes half of the bottom side, and on its left , almost in the lower right corner, is Friday. Right in the corner is Saturday that climbs about halfway up the short right side where Sunday begins.

    The months of the year run also counter-clockwise in a perfectly formed circle that I am able to imagine two-dimensionally in front of my eyes, or optionally, three-dimensionally either vertically or horizontally around myself. in the “3-D setting” I am usually standing in the middle of the circle but I can also go stand at mid-December where I can point out different months and even important dates such as birthdays and national holidays.
    Different months take a bit different amount of space in the circle.

    Also, I don’t know if this can be counted in with synesthesia but every time I think of a location in the world I mentally look at a flat map of the world (as if it was on a paper). I’m not really sure if it’s just because of my enthusiasm about geography and traveling, haha.

    Anyway, it is unbelievably, incredibly rewarding to speak out these visualizations and feelings, and to read other people’s experiences.
    Thank you so much for the possibility to share a comment!

    ~Tuija

    • by Tuija

    I’ll have to correct my previous comment! I wrote that Friday is on the left from Thursday, but of course I meant to say it’s on the right!

    • by Travis

    Thanks for sharing, Tuija! I’m sure that others will enjoy reading about your experiences, as well. :)

    • by Steve

    This is incredible.
    Last night my daughter (4 years old) started crying saying that the conversation I was having with my son was making her left pinky throb… I started looking at Synesthesia and discovered that I hvae spatial sequence synesthesia.
    Ive told my wife on countless occasions that I see the days of the week and the months of the year as color wheels. My week is like an oval, with small sections for each day along the bottom curve, and Satursday and Sunday occupying two much wider sections along the top curve of the oval. I couldn’t tell you their specific colors, but they have them.
    Similarly with the way I perceive the year is as others have described it above. I perceive the year as a much larger (yet thinner for some reason) color wheel. Mine goes clockwise, with Jan Feb and Mar segments on the bottom left.

    I also perceive the past to be physically to my rear-left (and down a little. As though I’m looking back down a narrow lane that grows dimmer). I will cast my mind’s eye over my left shoulder when recalling past events. Future predictions happen to my front right and slightly elevated. The years for some reason are on a straight line going from bottom left to top right. I have always naturally done all my calnedar calculations and scheduling this way. My whole life. never thought anything of it until yesterday.

    Thank you for sharing all of this information here. I much appreciate it.

    • by Andrew

    Hi Travis,

    I only discovered I have spatial sequence a couple years ago. I thought everyone had a map for things. I hadn’t even heard about synesthesia before. Then I read a webcomic (that I can’t find back, sorry) that mentioned it and I looked it up to see what it was. When I got to SSS I was shocked to see a description of the way I think.

    Anything that has an order gets a map once I’m familiar with that order. Numbers, dates, months you’d expect but also the Alphabet. Each CD gets a map of the tracks and each track gets a map for the current location in the song when I’m listening to it (some go left-right, some right-left a few go diagonally). Chapters in a book (The Hobbit goes South-North while The Lord of the Rings goes in a clockwise direction starting and ending south). The cardinal directions for a location I’m in (North feels like to the right of me when I’m at home, but at my old apartment, north was in front of me). It goes on.

    Also, as it happens, I have a terrible memory, but I never get lost.

    • by Danette

    Hi Travis,

    This truly is the most interesting blog I’ve ever come across. It’s so intriguing reading the various posts and various descriptions of other synesthetes perceptions.

    I have always been a number form/spatial sequence synesthete, but I didn’t recognize it as anything out of the ordinary, or rather something that could be labeled, until 2009. In 2009 while watching a documentary that heavily touched on color/grapheme synesthetes, my then 17 year old daughter sat straight up on the sofa and said, “Don’t you associate colors to your letters and numbers? Doesn’t everyone?” I looked at her and thought she was joking. Then she went on to explain that she associated colors to specific words and people as well as music. When she listens to music, ribbons of color are in the “air”, obviously different colors for different songs etc. I was fascinated by what she was explaining to me, so I did a little research on it. She took a test online on January 30, 2009 in which all 26 letters of the alphabet were flashed on the monitor three different times and all randomly, with each letter she had to use a color graph to depict exactly the shade of color she associated with each, this also included numbers 0-9. Her score absolutely SHOCKED me. The further I researched it, I noticed that it tends to be hereditary, but I couldn’t figure out how she was able to get it from me or her father….THEN, I discovered the number/spatial sequence form of synesthesia and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I thought it was strange that she and I would have two completely different forms of synesthesia.

    Until reading all of the comments above, I didn’t even recognize that fact that in addition to my days of the week, months of a year, and years in general(all of which have completely different graphs), I ALSO view my personal “age” years differently than I do the years that correspond with those ages. ie, 1987 is down a line completely different to the age of 16. When I see the days of a week, I see them in somewhat of an oval shape, but with Saturday and Sunday right next to each other straight and not curved, always have. It looks more like a bracelet that’s almost oval, but straight for about 1/3 of it. I usually see the entire “oval” off to the left of my mind, but if I am “in” a day of the week, the position of the next day varies. Does that make ANY sense? If it’s Thursday, then Friday is kind of to my right, but if it’s Friday, then Saturday is to my left, if it’s Saturday, then Sunday is right in front of me.
    I JUST took your “test” that you posted in one of the comments above, the funniest thing is that the results came back that I was a non-syn…I STRONGLY disagree. But the parameters I think were set up to cover various types, and I only fall in this category.
    My daughter thought to re-take the test that she took four years ago, last night. It was very ironic that it was four years to the day. The site that she took her test on still had her results from four years ago. The comparison between then and now was very interesting to her and I, and I wonder how someone else would interpret it, her color/alphabet associations seemingly have gotten much darker. Everything was on the same color scheme as it was four years ago, except the number four. Four years ago, she saw it in a dark green color, and now she sees it in red.

    Anyway, thank you for allowing me to babble on, but the biggest thanks to you for enabling me to read about the many exceptionally similar experiences that I have. It’s a neat feeling knowing that there are so many other people out there like me.

    • by Danette

    I might add, that my days of the week seem to be the only round graph. My months of the year are in a straight vertical line in front and to the right of me with January at the top and December at the bottom…unless I am “in” a month. For example, today is January 31, 2013, the previous weeks of this month are above me, while the remainder of the year is below me, with February almost below and out front, but January is right above my head.

    I think what I like most about posting this here, is that I know what I am explaining to you doesn’t seem crazy or unusual, but if/when I try to describe this to my husband, he thinks I’m a lunatic….so thank you. :)

    • by Travis

    Hi Danette,

    You’re more than welcome! Thanks so much for contributing to the discussion! :) This comment thread has become quite the collection – let me tell you.

    • by Travis

    Thanks for the comment, Andrew. Interesting to hear about your experiences with The Hobbit/LOTR. It’d be interesting to see if you could find books that reflect similar directional patterns.

    • by Travis

    You’re very welcome, Steve. Thank you for sharing your SSS experiences!

  • Hi! I have several situations that my family says is “weird,” but one that stands out a lot is my calendar. If I think about a month, I see it in a particular place. My calendar starts with September up in the top left and moves to the right with January at the top right. Next, it comes straight down until April and then the rest of the months become almost transparent. May to June are almost invisible and they begin to glide back up in an arc motion to September, and July and August are floating in the arc. It’s always been that way for me.

    I also feel what numbers personalities are. For example, 7 is very evil and I dislike it completely. I have trouble even writing this because I can feel it “looking” at me from the screen. Other numbers are much less worrisome than 7, although some are really rude or indifferent. Some numbers are nice.

    • by Eleni

    Very interesting accounts from others here. I’ve got the SSS version; a close family friend for many years had the personality/color/shape version, and it was pretty spectacular. Oddly, tho I grew up knowing about synesthesia from the family friend, I only realized I had SSS about 2 years ago. I visualize years, months, days, weeks. I *love* Excel — so full of satisfying boxes. I think I have some carryover into words: I’ve always been a top-flight speller, because the words look “right” when they’re spelled correctly. And I’ve used visualized grids to learn lots of languages. Like others, I can’t imagine how people get through the world without this kind of help — it’s sort of like living inside a permanent day planner, and it’s really helpful in my daily work.

    I was interested in Audrey’s comments at the top — I too feel that the grids are fading a bit with age — I’m now in my mid 50s. I worry about how I’ll remember and keep track of stuff if I lose my orientation. I tried mentioning this to a GP, but she’d never heard of synesthesia and seemed wary.

    I’ve also noticed I like “organized” activities: knitting, which is essentially a large grid; music – again, notes organized on lines; gardening, where you can control plants spatially. I loathe political science and philosophy, which seem to me disorganized. Abstractions are unsettling — cannot get them onto an organized grid!

    • by Ted Froberg

    I have SSS and can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have it. It’s always been a defining part of the way I think. But there was indeed a defining moment of realization that what I did in my mind’s eye wasn’t shared by everyone. A few years ago I asked my wife how she visualized days, months and years. I was just curious to know in what ways her spatial arrangement of time was different from mine. She gave me a blank stare and asked, “visualize?” As hard as I tried to get her to that “ah ha!’ moment and say, “Oh yeah, I know what you mean!” I just couldn’t. I even drew a diagram – a schematic of my arrangement of years, decades and centuries going all the way back to the year 1 A.D. But she was just mystified even more. That’s when I started wondering if I was strange – the only one in the world who ‘saw’ dates laid out before me in a spatial pattern.

    A couple of years went by before I read an article online that described what I did with dates in my visual imagination and gave it a name – “synesthesia.” There were even diagrams of the way a synesthete views the months in a year – like a circular race track. The months weren’t exactly at the same positions as they are in my imagination, but the pattern and direction (counter clockwise) was right on! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wasn’t strange after all (although my wife will still argue against that statement). I felt like I had just met a twin brother I never knew I had.

    From descriptions I’ve read of Asperger’s, I have often suspected I might have a touch of that syndrome. I was socially very awkward as a child, I have always focused on details, I’m a perfectionist, artistically talented and have devoted weeks and months of my life completely immersed in projects and studies of interest to me, totally focused and unable to concentrate on anything else to the point where eating and sleeping become “interuptions” in my day. And as I learn more about synesthesia even this aspect of my personality is beginning to make some sense.

    I don’t think of myself as being atypical. I’m certainly not a savant able to do complex numerical calculations in my head. In fact, I’m somewhat poor at doing simple mental arithmetic. I was a poor student growing up and because I received poor grades in school, I use to think I was less intelligent than my schoolmates. In grade school I couldn’t help but daydream during class and I remember my third grade teacher having to stop in the middle of her lessons several times each day, single me out and tell me to pay attention. I learned that accepting the realization I was academically “below” everyone else evoked less embarrassment and made such situations bearable for me.

    It was during that year too that my parents had me evaluated by a psychologist who came to my school. He asked me to draw a picture of a house, then asked a lot of questions about the people who lived in it. I had no idea why I was in this session being asked these questions, but the end result was that for about a month I was “invited” (forced) each day to attend the fourth grade’s science lesson. It had little effect on me.

    Throughout high school I never played sports or joined any clubs or organizations. I thought of myself as an individual – a loner – with no feelings of loyalty toward any type of group or team. It wasn’t until my late teens that my self esteem began to grow when I found I could impress my friends and coworkers with my memory, knowledge and talent for analyzing problems. I got a job at a financial firm and one day an older coworker – an accountant – was describing something called a “disproportionate stock redemption.” His task was to come up with a solution to a specific problem for a client, but didn’t have the equation at hand and couldn’t find it in any of his accounting reference books. I went back to my desk, thought about it for some 20 minutes and then derived the equation for him. Another accountant in the office was impressed enough to give me a test of my problem solving and reasoning skills – a single question/problem that I solved within a few minutes. The personnel department took notice and decided to give me something called a Wonderlic Test. I scored the second highest of any employee that had ever worked at the firm. My self esteem was running full throttle and I was becoming way too cocky for my own good. None of that ever translated into a pay raise or promotion and I very quickly (thankfully) found my ego deflating back to a much healthier level.

    Spatial Sequence Synesthetes are supposed to have good memories and that was once true for me. In my 20s and 30s I used to play a code-solving board game called Mastermind. On road trips I would play the game with the other passengers in the car. When it was my turn to drive, I played it all in my head without the board, using just my memory and ability to visualize. And I would win almost every game. But I find that my memory is deteriorating with age. I just turned 60 and have trouble remembering things I did just the other day. If I can visualize it, I will remember it, but I’m losing the ability to recall visual memories.

    Since reading Temple Grandin’s book, ‘Animals In Translation’ I suspect, as she does, that animals have autistic brains. Or perhaps more appropriately, that autism in humans is simply a manifestation of the animal part of the human brain showing a higher degree of activity than in non-autistic people. And people like Daniel Tammet make me wonder if the future evolution of the human brain isn’t a melding of the functions of those two parts perhaps through a greater number of neural connections between them. I wonder if maybe someday everyone will be savants having the same mental abilities as Tammet. I have no way of knowing if I am correct, but if synesthetes are part of that evolution, then I feel blessed to be one.

    • by Sean

    I randomly ended up on the Synesthesia page on Wikipedia, and read the SSS paragraph.

    That’s me!

    Unlike most of the comments I read here, my “planner” (really liked that one!) is always reorganizing itself. I see a number line that folds on itself, or a calendar that slides across depending where I am “looking”.

    One thing that happens because of this is that I tend to rearrange real filing systems based on what I think is the most efficient or pleasing.

    I rearrange my folders and files on my computers every few weeks. My bookcase gets shifted around based on usefulness, alphabetical order, how much I like a book, latest usage, thickness/size, etc… Sometimes I base it on efficiency/logic, other times it’s on feelings. This often frustrates my wife, because just as she gets used to a filing system, it changes.

    I used to explain to people that I have an ALMOST photographic memory. Now I know what it is!

    I have found this to sometimes be a hindrance though. Since I can keep large calculation in my head, I tend to not write equations down. I finally realized that the units in chemistry were very important when doing stoichiometry. While I could hold a complex calculation in my head, I would very often forget exponents, and my answers would be much much too large or small.

    You can do a very simple test to see if you’re more visual, or logical. Someone says a word, and asks if you see the letters in your mind, or a picture of the object. With the word flower, I see a flower with the actual word superimposed on the picture, I also see a bag of flour with that word superimposed. It happens with words like bank as well. I would see a river bank, a money holding bank, a piggy bank, and a plane making a turn.

    • by Chrysalis

    I am a non-traditional college student, and I just found out I have this type of synesthesia, after my brother revealed that he sees pictures when he hears musical notes. I have some places for numbers- like sequences of 3 numbers always go on the right side and I see them in my head- white against a blue background in my mind. If there are longer numbers, like when someone is giing me a phone number, I see the first 3, holding them like a picture in the upper left, and then “hold” the remaining numbers in my right ear to recall after I write down the first 3 that I can see. I also have a map for the months. Mine is a figure with 4 corners- but not a square or rectangle. I always thought it was a square until I tried to explain it to my daughter just now. January is in the upper left corner, farthest away. February and March are closer to me, going down the Left side. Then come April and May. I am not sure whether it is May or June in the bottom left corner- sometimes it seems like they take turns, or they overlap, but I am not sure why. Then across the bottom, closest to me are June, July and then August, which is in the bottom right corner. Above august is September and then October, with November in the top right corner. When I remember dates, I see them on this grid. Oh yes, the months are squares. When I think about the seasons or the date or month I am in, I picture myself on the grid like it is a game board and I am a game piece, moving around the board that is the months of the year.

    • by Andrea

    Hi! I just came acros this article. I have SSS as well mixed in with smell -> taste/personification.

    My SSS is as though I am walking a plank backwards. My months move away from me forward of my chest as they pass. I can see brightly pulsing dates on each month of something is scheduled. Zooming in toward the pulsing date gives me times (black for awaiting and red for completed). I’m constantly walking backwards on my timeline. I can pull memories from as early as childhood by going forward eith almost perfect taste/smell/emotional recall…however I cannot “see” it clearly. My SSS also revolves around maps. My friends and family call me a natural navigator because I can give directions to someone after having driven to the location myself … and without looking directly at a map. I can pull the mental map up in my head, locate the person asking for directions, find the location they want to go (with again a pulsing bright pinpoint) and give them the quickest/easiest directions. I did this just last night for a friend who got lost. On my mental map I even pull in to know “the third house on the left” or whatever (think google earth inside my head but more accurate).

    I also smell/hear -> taste/personify. My husband has recently changed aircraft in the military. I used to smell/hear C-130s as happy old men that smelled like cedar trees nad tasted like moss. The fighters jets as the base where young kids playing smelling like sunshine and honeysuckle. Now he works on the B-52. It’s a grumpy old nag that smells like tar and tastes like like licorice.

    My mother and 4yo daughter both speak as they have the similar abilities. My girl keeps telling her teacher that C’s dont like her and L’s laugh all the time. Her preschool teacher just laughs it off but we have encouraged it. She also smells/tastes like I do.

    • by Rob

    NUMBERS HAVE STOLEN MOST OF MY LIFE FROM ME!

    For most of my life I assumed that everyone saw numbers, letters and the calendar the same as me and could not only walk around them but often were required to “travel” to number to “use” it. It wasn’t until my wife and I were watching a news program (I don’t remember if it was 20/20, Dateline, Primetime, etc…) that she was able to understand my world.

    I have read many articles in how S.S. gave people an advantage in remembering dates and events, but, for me, there is a horrifying side effect that has made such an impact on my life, it often leads to momentary random suicidal thoughts.

    In the space where number exist, they move off into the distance in almost a straight line until the number 20. From there it makes a sharp left and goes in an almost straight line with a slight curving left (or up depending on where I am “standing” when I am viewing them) until 100.

    Numbers from 1 to 10 are widely spaced with a significant gap between them (not so much that I cannot touch 5 while standing next to four … or even three) and numbers between 11 and 20 are also well spaced yet slightly closer together…however not so much that if you could see them that you would notice. I know only because I have lived with these numbers for so long, I see the slight change distance between them.

    At the curve that occurs at 20 is the same thing, but still the change in distance is still insignificant to have any effect but beginning at 30 the distance between numbers from 30 to 100 gets closer exponentially. This started to have its effect around age 29 when I saw the great distance between zero and my current age and how short the next 50 years were. My life was 80% over and now as I turn age 50 in two weeks, ages 70, 80 and even 100 are less than half an arms length away.

    Even though, intellectually I know it is nothing but my perception of Numbers, the alphabet, the months of the year, the days of the week and so on, it doesn’t change the fact that when I think of my age, and then in turn see the number that represents my age (in this case 50, however this has been going on for over 20 years) … I AM AT THE END OF MY LIFE. I would give anything to be normal!

  • Hey Travis,

    I’m not entirely sure if I have synesthesia. I’ve take the test on this website, and it said I had it. Then I tried the “kiki/bubba” thing, and that worked. But the thing is, even if I did have it, I’m not sure if it’s as unique as the things other synesthesetes see, hear, taste, touch, or even smell. I may possibly have spatial sequence synesthesia, because my mental calender is put counter-clockwise, in a sort of circular chart: January is on top, February somewhat tot he right of it, and so on, in a sort of wheel. But other than this, I seem to posses no other synesthete qualities in this certain type of synesthesia. I apologize if this sounds redundant and/or confusing (or looks.)

  • ….kind of like this order (the picture at the top of the article,) but January is in front of me, not behind.

    • by Laura

    I have always had SSS, but I didn’t realize it was a thing until I was in graduate school and there was a presentation about different types of synesthesia. I thought everyone had it. I visualize my days, months and years in a black void – but I find my months of the year to be the strongest aspect of my SSS. I feel like I’m moving in space like a planet in orbit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R5P9Y9gRYY

    I move along the orbit in my head – and I orient myself mentally as the months pass. I also rotate a little as if I’m a planet that is spinning. I end up spinning around in November, February and May.

    My birthday is in August, so I start there. I grew up in Wisconsin, so the length and speed of the months seem to correlate with the seasons – fall and winter being long, spring is short and summer is long again.

    The best thing about SSS for me is that I can remember almost everything. If I’m thinking about something that happened last November, I move back to that location in the orbit in my head. If I’m planning on next November, I have to think about the entire length of the orbit ahead of me. I can also reference certain months from where I’m standing. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in late July – but my husband is sitting at his computer at the end of February. If I wanted to place myself in the correct date, I’d need to move over on the couch to my left (June). Ok, now I know I’m starting to only make sense to myself!

    If someone said I did something in April – I could tell them if it was true because my memory will place me on the orbit. If I was October, which is clearly not near April, then I will know it’s wrong.

    Also, I found that my mind got confused when I moved to Seattle. The weather here is SO DIFFERENT than Wisconsin. I was having trouble knowing where I was because it was so warm in January compared to Wisconsin and it made me think I was in March. It took me a year or so to get used to the weather here – I would really say that it disoriented me.

    I think it’s such an interesting topic – I can’t imagine not seeing the months as I do – it must be difficult to visualize plans or to remember events!

    • by Laura

    Additionally, just thinking about moving to Australia unsettles me. I couldn’t deal with summer in January and winter in July.

    • by Sydney

    I was wondering if I had Synethesia… All of my life I have seen years in my mind like they are on a rotating wheel of cards in my head. For example when I think of the year 1997, I see 1997 in white letters on a black card and behind it there are the same cards but with 1996,1995,etc. and 1998 is in front of 1997, and then there’s 1999, 2000, etc. As I think back in time the cards spin/rotate as if they are on a wheel, sort of like a Ferris wheel. Also I view months as if they are the same black cards (obviously with the months written on them in white, instead of years). The cards are in a diagonal line, with January at the begging and December at the end. I see days on a blank calender with the month written on top and the day is in bold black letters. It is the only day marked on the calender, the other squares are blank. I view the days of the week on cards,in a line and as they day goes on the card starts to go away as more of the next days card appears. So I hope that makes sense…Someone please tell me if I have Synesthesia.

    • by Gareth H

    It’s been fascinating reading this website, I didn’t realise my visualisation of dates is considered “unusual”.

    My week is a continuous zigzag scrolling along in front of me. Mon, Tue, Wed sit next to each other horizontally directly in front of me. Thursday sits below Wednesday to the right, Friday is below Thurs, but a little to the right. Sat and Sun sit to the right of Friday. I visualise Sat/Sun being down on my right-hand side, looking at them from above. And I can see next Monday sitting below Sunday in the distance.

    With regards to the months of the year, they’re a straight long line of squares below me, Left to Right, Jan -> Dec. I’m hovering above June. I can “move” along the timeline depending on the time on the year, but only about three months each way of June. What’s interesting is, I used to live in the Southern Hemisphere, and while there, I was hovering above December instead of June. Something about summer or the seasons? Who knows… Took me a couple of years to adjust to my new “northern hemisphere” calendar.

    • by brandon anderson

    Does anyone else experience this but also with haptic sense while playing an instrument? As in spatially visualizing sound that your fingers motions will produce at the same time feeling your fingers move out the musical progression you see, hear, and feel?

    • by Jenny

    So great to hear all these experiences. I thought I was alone! I see the months of the year and days of the week in an oval shape and different colours, although the colours can change a bit. I see time in my head starting with 1AD in one long line changing direction and different world events and years like 1066, 1900, 1939, 1946, 1980, 1990, 2000. I also do the same thing with money, earnings. If only it made me good at maths, but i’m rubbish! I have got a pretty good memory though.

    • by Frey

    Hello! My synaesthesia has to do with finding rhythmic and sort of auditory patterns in numbers. For example, I automatically know how many letters are in a word upon hearing it. When I was younger, the way I would pay attention in class was by listening to the teacher and playing back all the words in my head and counting the letters. It helps me have a really good memory so I barely ever study and there is an extremely low chance I’ll ever spell something wrong. Being a synesthite is amazing for math too. I can multiply almost anything instantaneously and with absolute certainty that I am correct because the number SOUNDS right. The ability has been present in my life as far back as I can remember.

  • I had an art project I started last year titled “A Year” based on the desire to discover how others spatially see the time frame of a year. Despite that, it took until TODAY before I realized that this way I see it is a form of synesthesia!

    If you’re interested, you can see the project here on my website: http://www.addoley.com/projects.html

    • by bobby

    Good community to know the information about the personification. The information is good. It helps in the further investigation.

    • by Vijaya sree

    @ Travis. Thanks for the answer. I need further clarification in this personification synaesthesia. please send your mail id.

    • by Cassie

    Hey–

    No idea how old this thread is, but I just realized this quality had a name and would love to add my 2 cents. I can relate to so many stories here–numbers, months, days, and years have always existed on various planes for me, but I’d mention it and people would just look at me strangely.

    Days of the week are in a clockwise oval. Saturday and Sunday take up the most space–about 1/3 of the oval–and the rest are spaced equally. I “sit” on whatever day it is, and if I’m counting the days to some event I point to them wherever they are. Months work the same way, in a clockwise circle. Numbers in general start at 0 at a base position in front of me, go to 10 straight ahead of me, veer right at a 90-degree angle to 20, veer left at the same angle to 100, veer again to 1000, veer again to 100,000, and so on in a zig-zag pattern. Years go right for the future and left for the past, taking a right turn at 1900, making a rounded right curve at around 1000, and turning left again at 0 AD.

    For background, I’m 45 and work as a book editor. I find this feature very helpful when I’m thinking through elaborate book production schedules–I can point to the places on the calendar where this or that happens. Fun!

    Oh, and no idea if it’s related, but I generally have a very good sense of direction, with one disconcerting quality: if I’m navigating while my husband drives and I say “turn left,” he knows to ask whether I really mean right, and vice-versa. Unless I’m really concentrating, I always get it wrong.

    Thanks for the opportunity to contribute!

    • by Julie

    I was so relieved when I learned the crazy calendar in my brain and spatial arrangement of days and numbers in my head had a name. Since I can remember my calendar, days, weeks, months, years, and even hours of the day have a spatial sequence. In the past I have attempted to draw it or explain it to people, assuming they had a similar calendar in their head. I got some really odd looks and comments, as people tried to understand and relate to what I was saying. Then I saw a 20/20 special on synesthesia and a wave of relief came over me. I wasn’t nuts and I wasn’t alone. Clearly this does not interfere with my life and even helps me remember dates and times as I assign events to their proper place, but it’s always there.

    • by Emily

    i am only 12, but i seriously can relate to this. i visualize numbers, dates, and the months like in the picture! i am always facing july. also, i see a clock around me too. same with days of the weeks. monday for me is where august is on the image on top. I like froze when i read this because i just thought i was weird or something! numbers i see in a line and the same with letters. omg this is sooo cool!

    • by Nikki

    I can’t believe this article and everyone’s comments! My months are positioned according to where I’m standing. For instance, the current month is September but October is in front of me, December is to the left and so on, but some of the months I can’t “see” but I know they are behind me. Some of the months are off in the distance but I can “see” them. Days are “listed” right above me. some of my memories are over my head. Also, when my phone rings at work I see pink. Does anyone experience that last one?

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