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

197 Comments 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. πŸ™‚ 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. β€œWhat’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 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. πŸ™‚ We’ll be sure to mention this on Twitter – @SynesthesiaTest

    • 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

    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 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 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. πŸ™‚

    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! πŸ˜‰ )

    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 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 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 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! πŸ™‚ 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

    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 πŸ™‚

    • by Travis

    MKP, thanks for the comment! πŸ™‚ 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 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 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 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! πŸ™‚ Haha! THANKS! VOTE ROMNEY!

    • by Travis

    Thanks for the share, Robbie! For the time being, Synesthesia Test is politics neutral! πŸ˜‰

    • 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

    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! πŸ™‚ 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 Travis

    No problem, Kat. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • 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!

  • 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! πŸ™‚ 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 Travis

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

    • 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 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 Travis

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

    • 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 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 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 Travis

    Hi Danette,

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

    • 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. πŸ™‚

  • 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?

    • by Louise

    I am 14 and I am positive I have spatial synesthesia. However, unlike many others, not only my numbers, letters, weekdays, but also colours, food, people, music pieces and memories are placed around me. As an example, if someone says broccoli I will see it to my west, among other vegetables. The thing about my spatial synesthesia is that it is oriented by north, west, south and east. When somone says “january” I see it to the north of wherever I am standing. At home, and places I am used to, this is easy. However when travelling, I always seem to predict where north is. When someone tells me that this direction however is east, I will feel really wierd. My entire system of thinking is “wrong” and I have sleepless nights, simply because all dates, colours and so on are in the wrong pace. Usually, however I am at home and there, I luckily have always known where north is, and where my winter is.

    This probably sounds really wierd. Does anyone else experience this? Another thing is that all my maps overlap and I can drag myself across them. As an example, it is currently October, and my monthy map, has me at its very east,where october is. Straight ahead but a bit to the left (north) I see november decmber and the rest of the year in a circle. The colours, orientated slightly to my south-west, in huge areas simply consisting of the colours. However, when I feel a certain way, I might be standing in the blue area, and looking at other areas. Certain people may also make me look at colours. Numbers, are allocated to the east, moving in a weird curve to the south- east. When I think of negative numbers,they go, also in a wierd curve to the north west. My week days are close to where my colours are, just a bit more southern. Monday is in the north, friday in the south, of the little oval that makes my week days. I am constantly elapsing these little maps, without thought. Music pieces are placed too, randomly. Some songs make me feel like I am standing in the north west, looking at my little world. Others make me feel like I am standing in the yellow area, looking at grey. It is weird.

    Now lastly, I have something really weird, which I have been doing for as long as I can think. My favourite colour is currently blue and every year it alters a bit in kind. This year it is a soft yet dark blue making my favourite number 15. The year before felt metallic blue. Therefore my favourite number was 11. The year before, was more of a royal blue year which made my favourtie number 8, the year before was grey/blue making my favourite number 23, and the year before that was light grey mking it 17. That may sound wierd- and not synesthesic, since most colours seem to be blue. Yet, all the other numbers are different colours, but I feel them a lot more weakly. When someone says 15 it feels like they are describing the current me. What I have also found, is that most blue numbers are in the begining 50. This is really wierd and again I always have to change lucky number in january. Does anyone else experience some form of this?

    • by Jennifer

    I am a teacher and every term I have to write my weekly schedule on a card for outside my door. The card is supplied by the department. For years I couldn’t figure out why it was SO difficult to write out when I’ll be in my office, class, etc.

    What I figured out recently is that I have time synesthesia: I view the week with each day as a column and the morning at the bottom of a column (night is at the top) — which is exactly the opposite of how the card was laid out! Trying to visualize the day backwards was so hard for me. Now I make my cards that way my brain visualizes the day. πŸ™‚

    • by Julie

    I have this, too. I thought it was totally normal until a few years ago. My young daughter was having trouble spelling and I asked her if she didn’t just see the word in her head? It’s easy to spell a word when you see it in front of you. My husband and the other people who were around looked at me like I was crazy. I see the year as a giant oval with January at the top (or straight ahead of me) and it goes left (counter clockwise) and where I’m standing is August. (I was born in August — wonder if that is connected?) then September goes to the right and the rest of the months curve up til they meet January. I’ve always seen time like this and like a previous poster mentioned, I wonder how “regular” people visualize time? I also see years similarly, like the 70s are to my left with the 60s to their left, etc. The 2000s are to the right. If you give me a year, like 1964, I “see” it in its place. I see numbers in a line, too. I have 0-10 in one area, then 11-20 extending from it and then 20-100 go straight up. If you say 63, for example, my mind goes to that place on my imaginary number line. I was helping my daughter with her math and when she would ask me about certain numbers, I would visualize them. I also have misophonia, which is the extreme hatred of certain sounds, such as my people chewing or breathing loudly. Wonder if that is related?

    • by Julie

    Also, when I was 5, on the first day of Kindergarten, the teacher asked if anyone could say their ABCs. I raised my hand and she picked me. Very proudly I stood up and said “ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA” I think the only reason I could say them all backwards is because I can SEE them all backward. Well, I see them in the correct order with A on the left and Z on the right, but when I recited them backwards, I just looked at them and read them from right to left instead of from left to right.

    • by Cheri

    I don’t think I am a SSS but I do have weird things about me. I have a vivid memory and can remember strange, weird events from growing up (distant and relevant past). When I think about the event I can see as if I was in that moment again. I can see and hear the sound from that exact moment. I also have a weird thing for memorizing numbers. I am also a sound/item associative, meaning when I hear a sound/song or see an item/object it makes me think of one particular thing or an event in that time. As if that thing or event is tied with it. When I share this people they often say/think I’m weird, but I am OK with that because I think I am weird too. I associate something with everything, even when it comes to learning. Some words take on different meanings to me just because the way they sound. I really can’t think of any examples right now to all of this, but if I do I would be more than happy to share. I also do mnemonics/associative thoughts often for memorization in my studies.

    • by Julie

    I never knew how I viewed letters, numbers, days of the week/month was any different from others until I watched a piece on 60 minutes. I was like, “what?! Not everybody ‘sees’ sound?” I’ve come to realize I have a few forms. My numbers are either male or female and some numbers like each other, but other numbers do not. For instance, 1 is female and she is really nice. Her and 2 (male) get along, but 3 (female) is rude and they do not get along. It goes like this (at least really strongly) to about 20. But if I think about it, larger numbers have personalities too. I think this helped me with math in school…especially my times tables. I also ‘see’ sounds. I’ve seen them my whole life so I guess I’ve just gotten used to it and have tuned it out…it’s not a distraction. I can also see the words coming out of people’s mouths. I definitely have this spatial thing too! My year is a flattened, get tilted plane above me with two columns. The first column starts with July and goes down until December. Then the second column starts at the top again, to the right of the first and hS January at the top. My weeks start with Monday and goes from right to left, I move position as the week goes on. Anywho! It’s fascinating to read about people who experience what I do! It makes me feel like I’m not so “weird,” and I feel a connection! I also think I might have a mild version of the empathy version. Sometimes when I think about people or situations they are in, it physically hurts me and I have to force myself not to think about it.

  • Hello there, my name is Anna and I am undertaking a PhD in south England. I am looking for people with spatial sequence synesthesia to look at their face recognition ability. Some research suggests that SSS is associated with superior memory and I am curious to find out if people with SSS are also super-recognizers. If you would be interested in taking part, please contact the lab at http://prosopagnosiaresearch.org/about/research-participation. Thank you, Anna

    • by Melissa

    Hello! I’d love to share my experience with SSS. I am almost 20 and in college, and can tell you I have experienced this for as long as I can rememeber for certain aspects of my life. When it comes to the days of the week, I “see” them in a horizontal line starting Sunday-Saturday, and they are in a VERY slight arc downwards I suppose you could call it. similar to this line, but not as curved: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/38500/38560/curvedline_38560_lg.gif
    Also, I experience this when I think of the months of the year, “seeing” it as a vertical chart going down, and as I approach the bottom (December) it widens, kind of like it is closer to my field of view and the top is farther away (similar to if you drew something in 3D perspective, bottom being closer to you) although my months I see are just words, or things…it is difficult to explain since it is not 3D itself but rather the existence of the months I am picturing. I find that I experience this every time since I was a child in picturing what month I am in, (say… June is in the middle of my field of space while October would be closer to me at the bottom of my widening ‘shape’). I “sit” on whatever month and move down the chart as the year progresses. I also see my numbers in a line, an infinite one, and my field of view in my mind just pops to that location on my never ending line.
    It is strange to me that I see this spatial view of numbers and times, but reading others I find that I actually (although maybe not seeing the same view) understand and grasp what they see and I actually quite like knowing others who experience this! Amazing what the brain is capable of..

    • by Melissa

    ALSO.. to add, I learned my numbers and their values this way:
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-SaDfz-2PpA8/TYFrhWYv-xI/AAAAAAAAAkM/vqp1wu43Gao/s1600/DSC_0146.JPG
    and this is CONSTANTLY how I see and count numbers, no matter my age or what numbers I deal with. If I do long division, for example, out on paper, and carrying numbers or subtracting from something, I use my mind to count the dot value on these specific points in this photo of the numbers. Though this is not SSS, it seemed correlated to me seeing that I have this imprinted on me and “see” these value dots spatially even to this day.

    • by Madi A.

    Hi! Ok, so I’ve been reading about synesthesia and have the impression that while some people see these images in the physical space around them, others see them in their “minds eye”. I have mental images that appear in my mind for most everything related to letters and numbers. Is this some mild form of synesthesia? Some numbers and days also have mental colors or personalities, but not all. For example, I’ve always felt bad multiplying 6 times 7 in school because those two female numbers don’t get along. It wasn’t something I ever actually took time to think about – it just was. I didn’t even realize how different is was for me to think/feel this way, or that not everyone had mental calendars, until I was older. So is this at all synesthesia?

    • by Brent Funderburk

    Greetings!

    My spatial sequencing synesthesia includes the visual form my evening prayers take (in addition to seasons, months and colors for every letter and number that never change.) That is, I didn’t notice it until I looked for it, but when I pray about my family at night, the sequence presents their bodies/faces and positions at different distances, sizes and clarities in a more-or-less circular path. These involve closeness and distance, direction they are facing, whether each is looking at me or not, whether I see each from in front, from below, from the side (etc.), and their relative position to each other. This is not a landscape space, but an undefined but deep space surrounded by grey or darkness- with a darkest place (abyss) at bottom. As I pray I travel (change my view) to see each person/grouping that generally moves from mid-high left to middle, then lower to the low right, then further right and up, until I meet my wife at the top opposite me (and furthest away), now moving toward the left (beginning). This sequence, like the color of numbers/letters is involuntary/never changes. My twin has similar (but not the same) experiences. I am 61 years old.

    • by Rob Byrne

    I would categorize myself similarly. When I say I have spatial synesthesia, I mean it very literally. I can visualize with ease, oscillation, resonation, wave form patterns, the physics of energy. But more so, I see the interactions. I innately know things related to this process. As a young man, I wrote a paper on wave theory that largely reproduced the work of Huygens without even know who he was.. I do remember intricate details of my long term memory. My short term is a flexible loosely coalesced cache memory, not good at retaining anything other than wave function, spatial relations, etc. I found myself working on the theory of relativity from the other side of the equation, unaware I was even doing so while still n my teens. I can understand Teslas work without having done the lab work. I can visualize frequency interaction to that degree. When I do so, I slip into a trance like state of thought where I put myself within the thought for visual perspective but as a result, I am often in a state of dyslexia. I can’t tell from which side of my brain or eyes information is coming and it seems to flip often during the course of the thought process. I can’t just get up and move around and definitely could not read a book following this process. The other thing is somatic sensation is a side effect. And what feels like five minutes is often two hours. I am as non Linear A thinker in general terms but I am able to focus with great intent thought toward linear reaction of wave and three dimensional resonation interactions. It’s all a blessing and a curse. Most people can’t get their head around what I see so easily. It’s frustrating, even after knocking things down to their simplest components,I can’t get others to stop thinking two dimensionally., literally. Often when people talk to me in terms of three dimensions they are usually mistaken and speaking of interpretations of two dimensional planes.

    • by Sarah

    I see numbers as floating, the higher the numeric value, the lower they float. Also the higher the numeric value, the father to the right they are. And days pass ‘through’ me. The future is behind me, today is around me, and the past is to my right, it forms a right angle. Each day is like a square and they move forward like they are on a pulley. Analog time is a little behind me, where I can only see it out of my peripheral vision, but digital time is in a 3 x 4 square right in front of me, and with all of this, the lower number are midnight blue and the highest numbers are a pale lilac, and they fade from one to another. The current day is always a mixed purple blue that I can’t quite describe in words. Nothing like names or people or plants are in space, but everything like time or temperature, anything that can be described in numbers, are all around me in purples and blues!

    • by Sarah

    Additionally, my year is a big circle, with the coldest months in blue (January is midnight blue) and the warmest in lilacs (August is the palest lilac) and every other month merging towards the other color. January is at my feet and my circle leans a little away from me, at about a 35 degree angle, with July directly across from my face. During the summer months it is standing up, and in July it is standing up completely straight (but still at a 35 degree angle) and it starts to fall towards me every month after July until it is lying completely flat in January, then it starts to stand back up again. After October it begins to be behind me, and doesn’t come in front of me again until April.

    • by Allison

    I had no idea this was a “thing”. I’ve done it my whole life, and assumed everyone else did too. Numbers, dates, days of the week, months of the year. I can’t imagine another way to organize that information. Just fascinating! My son has autism and I wonder if it is a common phenomena in families with members on the spectrum. Very excited to come across this article. Thanks!

    • by Liz

    Hello! I just learned in the past hour what synesthesia is! I’m wondering if I am synesthetic…I, since I can remember associate colors with feelings. Feeling anxious all I can see is yellow, it makes me cringe. It’s a specific shade. But! When I am calm, I see blues, beiges…and so on. Words evoke a feeling too, which results in colors. I used to describe my emotions as colors. I also started being able to, with only very very intense colors…like the yellow, taste something foul, or sweet.

    • by Liz

    Also in addition…everything is colors. The more I think about it…colors are basically the basis for all my emotions and how I depict everything. It’s like everything has their place in all these shades and certain shades make me feel more then others. Like, I love triangles and the number 4. Those are green.

    • by Clint

    I have had this for as long as I can remember. It is mostly present when I think of numbers, days of the week, and months. The months go counter clockwise, with January starting at 6:00. The months almost all have colors as well. January is blue, February is pink, March is light blue, April is green, May is yellow, August is yellow, September is dark red, November is brown, and December is green.

    • by Doug

    I typed in “sees days of the week in a circular pattern” and this was the first site. OMG! I finally have a name for the weird way I see time, days of the week etc. Most of the stories are very much like mine. I don’t necessarily see the ‘oval’ as emanating from my locus but I do see it. Days of the week: I see almost like an oval board game, we, I literally move to another ‘space’ as the week goes on. So when someone says I’ll see call you next Saturday, I literally think of it as another space on the oval, as a measure of distance NOT time. Saturday is ‘over there’, not a when, but a where. Months of the year: same kind of shape but goes off in a more ahead direction. January would be near my left ear, August/Sept. would be directly in front of me but ‘far away’. So, “I’m going to Vegas in July” to me again, is a measure of distance to get to the month. Some colors do accompany these visuals. The months more closely match the seasons/holidays so they aren’t that special. Days of the week: Mon: dark, Tues: dark greenish yellow, Wed: bright yellow, Thurs: deep purple/maroon, Fri: Black, Saturday: Bright yellow and hot, Sunday: calm yellow/blue/green

    If I were to try and represent the days of the week in my mind it would look something like this but in an oval(almost football shape):

    S U N D A Y / S A T U R D A Y
    mon/tues/wed / thurs /fri

    Also I see the hours of the day as a descending ladder.
    A.M. starts above my right ear and descends down to feet in a diagonal

    This is crazy. I can’t remember ever seeing the passing of time any different and now I finally have a name for it!

  • I will add my thing here, it’s very, very interesting to learn about so many people who share this kind of sensory effects.

    I do believe I have SSS but the sequences are merely one part of it, I am spatially synesthetic about a lot of things, for example:

    zoomable and traversable calendar (like Mackenzie) – yep, mine has a zigzag/staircase pattern which is logarithmically fractal.

    letters, numbers, colours, all having their unique sequence structure – check.

    music appearing as layered bands around my bubble varied by pitch and timbre – check.

    A memory advantage – check

    Speaking of memory, I seem to have 3-D memory, as in I can go back to a memory and look and move around the space from any point of view.

    Also, when people mention the name of any location before, if I have heard of it, it will have a direction relative to my body, as if my body is standing on a huge world map facing north.

    I have done computer programming and web design, interestingly, when I visualize program code or HTML, I see the code modules as 2D layers arranged in a 3D space linked by logic.

    And, as I have noticed, my whole knowledge structure is mapped to multiple 3D environments linked within an overarching mind space (or mind palace as it is popularly called)

    I think the sense of being is difficult to describe because honestly, I don’t have any comparisons, I cannot experience the world otherwise so this pretty much makes me who I am.

    • by Christine

    I recently learned that musical talent, Pharrell Williams, has a form of Synesthesia — he sees color when he hears music. Intrigued, I Google the word. Like so many here who have posted, I was shocked and thrilled to see images of numbers, days of the week, letters, dates, etc. like I see them.

    The days of the week form a circle, much like the image at the top of this page. Their location is always the same, but Saturday and Sunday occupy equal but larger part of the circle. However, me view point of the circle changes depending on how I am thinking about time. If it a Tuesday and I am thinking about the day ahead, I am inside the circle looking out at the day in front of me. But if I am planning a week in the future, I am outside the circle , looking at it’s entirety (always from the same angle though).

    Months appear somewhat linear, but the current month arcs upward in front of me, bending the linear line.

    The alphabet in a “U” shaped line of letters – the A is on the upper right tip of the “U” and the “Z” is at the end. Again, whether I am seeing the line from the outside or the inside of the “U” depends of how I am thinking of a letter.

    Time looks like a standard clock, with 12 straight ahead of me and 1 just slightly off the my right.

    Years are more complicated. They appear hovering over a map (so to speak) of where I lived during that year in relation to where I live now. For example, In 1980 I lived 8 miles west of my current location, so 1990 hovers in the air off to the west. In 1990, I lived 5 miles east of my current location, so that year is off in the opposite direction in my mind, but closer.

    Following suit, my memory has always been outstanding. No boyfriend ever dared argue with me over what was or wasn’t said in a particular time and place – lol. My memory extends back to 11 months old and I rarely forget a face. Some years back, I was off the charts on recall activities performed during an IQ test. However, since having a baby, I can’t say I am as fast anymore – lol.

    This has been an “ah ha” moment. My eyes bugged out when I saw that picture at the top. I am not alone, nor crazy…and this has a name.

    A CURIOSITY – I have a history of reading/writing problems. I am curious if any work has been done in relation to those with spatial sequence synesthisia and learning issues such as dysgraphia, dyslexia and the like. A link would not surprise me. After all, the dyslexic mind puts it’s own a spin on what it sees.

    • by Stephanie

    About 8 years ago my mother, my brother-in-law, and myself all discovered we had this at the same time based on a conversation we were having. We thought everyone saw “maps” for dates and time. I still don’t understand how you can keep track of time without it. I have maps and patterns for years, decades, centuries, months of the year, days of the week, even for ages of people. When someone tells me how old they are I instantly visualize a space on my “age map”. I do think it is interesting that ever since the year 2000 hit, my map is fading for the years. It’s not as specific. 2000-2014 is blended together. The only reason why can say that has happened is because I always viewed my years map as ending in 2000.

    • by Margie

    How interesting and validating to see how others experience time and space! For me, the year is an oval that I move through counter-clockwise. Dec and July oppose each other in the center of the ends of the oval. Months are either colored or a definite lt/dk value. Similarly, days of the week form a stretched out oval that flattens on the weekend, moving counterclockwise. I see past years lined up left to right in decades that slightly zig/zag as a unit and slightly colored. Thank you!

    • by Rafael Molina

    I’d like to ask a question… I’ve come to realize that I think of colors when it comes to numbers almost subconsciously when I look at them. These colors don’t overlap or show up in the physical world. Instead, when I look at numbers, I “feel” (not the sensory feel) a color per number. I mean feel as in I don’t have to try, it just happens without me calculating or remembering anything.

    white, grey(I want to say transparent), red, green, yellow, dark blue, orange, dark yellow, purple, violet

    Those are the numbers from 0-9 that I see respective to their orders from zero. I’m a high school senior who likes to imagine things. While I was picturing charged particles in stable environments, like a sphere in equilibrium due to being in a evenly charged ring. I was looking at some numbers in the page. (Electromagnetism is a branch of physics)
    I realized that I imagined colors pertinent to the first 10 numbers. This wasn’t imagined with a mnemonic purpose, I just happened to notice it and ask around. I never knew this was a particularity for a few people. Also, names have colors. My name is blue, red. Niki is violet-pink, Emily is green, Julie is dark blue, Cassie is yellow. I don’t know what this is, but if its common and has a name, I’d like to know how I can utilize it properly, if there’s any special use. Thanks.

    • by Denise

    Hello,
    Like all, I have had this my whole life and I just thought it was a quirky crazy thing I did. Only to realize it is an actual “something” that is real. I do not like to call it a condition or anything it is just a part of me. Anyway I am a taste syn I suppose. I taste about 90% of words.

    • by Richard

    unbeliveable! I think and see the EXACT way Samantha (from your comments) sees her dates and years. I also see time, such as 2:30 pm in a certain place as well. I am so relieved to know that others are like me. I am just finding out abou this…I thought I was weird. I wonder if my lifelong migraine headaches have had anything to do with this?

    • by adam

    I recently started talking about this with my friends and family after catching the tail end of a discussion about this on NPR. I view time in terms of months in an egg shape, with the months going counter-clockwise, starting at the top. I think days of the week in a horizontal oval with the weekend days on the top of the oval. And I think about decades and centuries as lines, with centuries of the past as a scroll, one line for each century below the last. No one I’ve talked to thinks this way, so they’ve all deemed me crazy!

  • Hello

    Im interested to find out, if by only visualising the numbers consistently in your minds eye, not necessarily in visual perception counts as Number-Form Synesthesia?
    I have been asking people i know for years ‘what they see when they think about numbers?’ with quite varying responses. One person i asked had almost exactly the same experience as myself so i decided to make a crude animation of it. if anyone is interested its here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCWykru8W-Y i have shown it to the person, and they were shocked at how closely it resembled his visualization apart from the direction and angle of the number ladders.

    I’m Dyslexic, It may just be a visual perception thing rather than a Synesthetic perception.

    • by Brian

    As a historian with SSS, I find it an amazing natural tool to organizing time and space mentally — although I quickly got used back in college & grad school to sitting in front of the class during lectures, in case I got too into answering a question and instinctively pointed at the reference that my brain had just called up into my visual space above me!

    I do work with museum exhibits sometimes now, and have played with mapping out how I “see” a timeline in my head to replicate in a case as the guide to pinpoint objects. Others look at me oddly when I try to tell them what I’m doing, of course…

    • by Sarah

    Hi! I just stumbled upon this article after hearing about synesthesia in my psychology class the other day. I don’t associate colors with specific tastes or sounds or anything like that but I think I might be showing signs of SSS and I wanted to hear your input on my situation. I don’t associate colors with months and I don’t actually see them in front of me, but I have a mental calendar in my head of the months. They’re all in a circle around me and I am always facing the current month. So now, I’m facing May. Some months are more spaced out than the others. For instance, January, February, March, and April are all kind of squished together whereas August, September, October, and November are really spaced out. I visualize days of the week in a similar way, except they’re all in a line. The current day or the day I’m thinking about is usually in the center and I can see a few days on either side additionally. I still don’t see colors, but Saturday and Sunday are somehow different from the weekdays. I can’t really describe it, but it’s kind of like they’re bolded in my head or somehow separate from the weekdays. My number line and timeline based on years are similar in that they are just straight lines. However most synesthetes have described their condition as being able to see the months/days/etc in front of them. I only visualize them in my head. What do you think?

    • by Luke

    Incredible! I had no idea there was a label for this and have never talked to anyone who sees a calendar or numbers like I do. My number line is not a line at all an is constantly in a mostly left-handed spiral with numerous right hand curves. Like many of those who have posted here I would have to draw it to explain it. It has never changed and the curves have been there as long as I can remember. I have a twin sister who has a very poor recall of our childhood, but I can remember stuff from a very young age that my parents have a difficult time remembering. I have a visual reference for dates with major curves at the century marks, and now that I think about it, going forward in the 2000’s, it makes a huge change from the zig-zag pattern. The clock thing is pretty straight forward and nothing special about a clock. I am currently in PA school and do the best in classes where I have to memorize a ton of information that I can put into lists. I get a hard time from my peers for the crazy ‘codes’ that I come up with an spill out onto the paper when a test begins. Some code lists can contain a couple hundred facts than can be written out in just a couple minutes due to the symbols. It doesn’t always give me an advantage because there are others in our class who have photographic memories that are nearly instant. I say that I have a photographic memory, but instead of an instant digital picture, I am old school and some of my photo’s are on film and just take longer to develop. This is awesome- I had no idea there was a name for this!

    • by Sandy

    I really enjoyed everyone’s thoughts…I am so glad I now know I’m not crazy..I always thought everyone saw days, months, and years in front of them..I’m 62 and I try to describe it to my husband and he just stares at me..He just can’t imagine it..try as I may..He just doesn’t get it. My days of the week go counter clockwise in an oval..Saturday and Sunday take the most space to the right. Calendar months in a circle going clockwise. Numbers in straight lines of 10. Years in one straight line. I have the different smells with colors..I will be watching a movie with like bright sunshine in a scene and I smell like a chemical smell..I didn’t know this was a thing until I would say to my husband..I smell something that smells like chemicals..and he gives me one of his looks and says..I don’t smell a thing. Blues and pinks are a flowery smell. Thank you for your research..I’m going to ask family if they have any of this. …wish me luck!! My daughter will understand she works for Roche labs and has her Masters in neurobiology. .her husband has a PhD in neuropharmachology. Thanks again! One more quick question..I heard this is a form of autism??

    • by Emily

    Until today when I read A Mango Shaped Space, I never realized that everyone didn’t see sequences for the week days and years numbers and stuff. My dad and sister see it too, and my mom had no idea what we were talking about when we were describing our differing sequences to each other!

    • by Kelsey

    Tonight, I stumbled upon the 20/20 episode titled “Strange Senses” and was just letting it play in the background. I was about to change the channel when a preview came up showing a woman make a computer “picture” of how she perceives the months of the year, and I immediately recognized what she was doing.

    Just like so many other people here, I have a specific way I see the months of the year (circle, moving counterclockwise), days of the week (oval, moving clockwise), time (early in day at bottom, later in day at top — this makes using Google Calendar challenging at times), and years (centuries as parallel lines).

    I remember about 8 years ago having a conversation with a friend of mine about how I perceived time, specifically years and weeks. This friend looked at me like I was crazy, even when I drew it it out for him in a notebook I still have today. More recently, I was describing my perception of time to a student with whom I work, and when I asked how she visualizes time, she said “umm, like in a planner?” I always thought I just had maybe given this more thought and had formed a clear mental picture–it didn’t occur to me that others might not even have a spatial picture of time.

    It is so fun to know that there are other people out there who think this same way, and I agree with everyone who has already written that it’s hard to imagine how I would keep days and events in order without my visual/spatial maps of time!

    Incidentally, I have an incredibly good sense of direction and maps seem to “just make sense” to me. I could get off the subway with my mother in New York and know exactly in which direction we should go without having to think about it, whereas she would need to stop and look at street signs. I don’t know if that’s related at all–does anyone else have an experience similar to this?

    • by Sara

    Hi!
    I saw something about color associations with letters and numbers and wondered if my associations of days, months, years with circles and other shapes was linked and wow was I astonished to see that it is! I have always seen a year in a type of oval. and I am standing on top of the current month with the previous months through January behind me and the coming months in front of me. Days of the week are in a strange circle/rectangle shape with the weekdays in front and the weekends in the back. Again, I am standing on the current day. I also see years in a linear pattern. Future in front of me and past to the right. I also see numbers in a line in front of me with the negative to the left and the positives to the right, a type of virtual number line, and I am at zero. Numbers over 100 are above my head and numbers less than -100 are below me, so I often look up and to the right when thinking of large numbers and down and to the left when thinking of small numbers. I am a math teacher and my students point this out to me all of the time! I have been like this since I was a kid! Interesting to know that I am not the only one who does this! I always thought I just associated numbers this way after learning about a number line (which still might be true), but the days of the week, months and years associations baffled my family and friends, so I had no explanation of those! I wonder if I do have SSS or if it’s just a coincidence!

    Sara

  • Hi,
    I’m surprised that this is a “thing”. I always just thought I visualised things. My week is a fortnightly loop with weekends either end. Each day has it’s own colour. My year is a bit like a capital D… But the straight line is December. When you get there it isn’t a line though! When I think of it, my day times are vertically linear like calendars. Whenever I say a day or month I see it’s colour & position! Songs & foods trigger memories. I have good long term memory & see my memories clearly.
    So what do people without this synaesthesia do?

    • by Emily Day

    I’m very interested in more info..I am pretty sure I have Synesthesia…I associate colors with music, letters, names, words, and numbers..my mind just does it..I can’t really describe it. Each musical note, chord, everything, has its own color. Even the word Synesthesia has a color to me. I’m really glad I figured out what this is, and it;s good to know other people have it too.

    • by Ashley

    Hi,

    I experience Months in a circle (like a Clock). However, not evenly spaced. January would be at 9; March at 12; may at 3; July is at 6. Summer months are much more squished together than winter months.

    I see the days of the week like a “Volume Bar”. Linear. Monday is small and low, and each day gets bigger, and higher.

    When I visualize a phone number. It hangs right over my head like a sign.

    I also have a photogenic memory… In regards to the phone number as an example…. If I repete the numbers out loud, individually I will not remember them…. I have to Vie it all as one entity, and “burn” it into my brain… I will go back and “look” at it in my memory after as One image, not as multiple numbers.

    Im really interested that this is a ‘thing”. haha

    • by Acae

    Hi, um, I’ve known about synesthesia for a while now, and have researched into it for stories, as well as wanting to know more, and I read somewhere (I can’t remember where) that some synesthates perceive the things they do in the world around them, where as others see them in their “mind’s eye”. Is this true? Because if this is, I think I might be experiencing this type of synesthesia.
    I see dates before my birth on a black background, going in straight lines parallel to one another and grouped according to century. Years that I know a lot about are clearer than dates that I don’t (for example, the Tudor and Victorian eras are clearer to me than the Georgian era). At the year of my birth the dates begin to curve, and the backdrop changes to a sort of blur of the colours of the places that I lived in at those times. I don’t see them around me, but this is how dates appear to me in my mind.
    Could this be a form of synesthesia, or something else entirely?

    • by Lacy Wilhelmina

    If never thought about asking people how they imagine their mental calender until I casually mentioned to my best friend that January was only eight spaces away. She was baffled to say the least. For me, my calender looks like a game board. If you were to look at it from an aerial view, January is at the bottom and July is at the top. I move about the spaces like a piece on a game board. If it’s September and I’m thinking about something in March, I look to my top left and I can see the tile across the board. Each space is a distinctive color. January is ice blue, February is a very pale pink, March is sunshine yellow, April is the color of golf course grass. May is turquoise, June is lilac, July is electric blue, August is a slow burning red, September a reddish orange (those months are very similar to me). October is a dark orange, November is the color potato skins or dead leaves, and December is an emerald so dark it’s almost black. I never thought about asking someone about their calendar. I have a notoriously good memory for random things as well as big dates. I knew about synesthesia but I never considered that my calendar was connected.

    • by Ell

    This is very interesting! I can’t say for sure if I have this – I only stumbled here because I needed to look up a definition of synesthesia, and I was somewhere where it mentioned the temporal/spatial type, and I was surprised that it sounded like what I do. I have specific layouts for centuries, years, and weeks, and locations I “stand” at to view them from. For instance, a week is from Sunday on the left, to Saturday on the right, and I usually stand in front of Tuesday, though I can also stand in Thursday itself and turn and look back toward Wednesday and the previous days (from this vantage the dates look like clear plastic boxes with holes in them, while I stand in the Thursday box). To look at Friday and Saturday, I have to back up a bit from Tuesday to be able to see them properly, since they’re “further away.”

    This might have been why I was generally good at studying history. I have certain dates and events pinpointed on the century timelines (sort of like those timelines they make officially – except that I can zoom in on them and pack in more information). Also, the “year circle” I use to view historical dates looks different from the “year circle” I use in my personal life. I don’t have good memory of my personal life, which a lot of people describe. The year circle (though it’s an ellipse shape, actually) is more a reference point to view relative time (how far is August 3rd from October 20th?); I don’t have personal specific association with the dates (like I do with historical dates). I also get confused at the monthly calendar on my phone, since it flips the months up and down, whereas the months in the year ring are side-by-side.

    • by Deborah

    I see my calendar much differently. January through April are in the first column. May is beside April and slightly higher but in its own column. Next come June and July while August is in its own column beside July and slightly down. In the final column are September through December. I see all points in time through this calendar and the past, present and future exist in different planes on the same calendar. For example, if I recall the day I met my husband, August 15, 1999 it is in a different plane under the date my youngest daughter was born, August 18, 2005. There are an infinite number of planes existing in unison.

    Letters, numbers, days and words have unique colors and positions in the space around me. When I recall events, I look up to the left to see the memory and look to the right to visualize how a future event should happen. Instead of studying, I have always just looked to the left to see the study guide. I don’t really know what this means for me. Is it spatial-sequence synesthesia, or something more?

    • by Alexander

    So I haven’t come across anyone else who experiences sounds spatially as textured shapes. I can touch these shapes and see them. I can feel the texture of particular musical notes. But I want to emphasis that it is sound to vision first and then I can touch this object if I want.

    This also occurs with words, Words have a dynamic quality, meaning movement is apart of my experience of words. I sometimes gesture the movement when I am trying to remember a word. Like I see this image and I sometimes struggle to remember the word attached to it and the word is always appropriate to the conversation.

    When sentences don’t flow, its like a interconnected series of dynamics with shapes that don’t fit. I find myself searching for the shapes that fit and then I verbalize the associated words.

    I also can see related shapes and textures related to parts of words. I know this doesn’t make sense but I can see words that fit together as shapes in a visual way.

    I think in a spacial-exclusive manor. So I’m sure that plays a big part in this. Its kind of overwhelming trying to articulate these inarticulate images and dynamics to people.

    When I get to know people, the information I learn is stored in a “location” its like a place filled with crisp episodic memories and information.

    Hope Someone else experiences this =)

    • by Ann

    I have always seen numbers in a very specific layout. It’s not a regular pattern and gets confusing above 1 million. Also I think it may have made abstract math like algebra difficult for me.

    I am more interested however if anyone else feels sounds? Obviously music engenders emotional reactions, but I find certain types or volumes of sound hurt (ones that don’t seem to affect others around me). Some make it hard to breath, others feel heavy on the back of my neck.

    • by @lliilla

    I always thought everyone thought about time like I did. I never mentioned it because it wasn’t really a big deal. It doesn’t really effect my life although I am pretty good at remembering things but not at ALL like a super-power memory or anything. One day I was listening to NPR and they were talking about it and I realized it was something special. Wow, cool.

    I can only visualize months. January and December meet in a loop in front of me, like at 12:00. Always. It doesn’t change depending on the date. Special things that happen stick to the calendar kind of like pictures I can reference, but those special dates don’t happen very often. Once a year MAYBE.

    There are certain events in my life that I can jump right to and use them often when trying to remember when certain things happen. Then I mentally run around the spiral from year to year to place things on the calendar. January and December generally touch unless I’m fast forwarding like this and then it’s a spiral. It’s really hard to explain because it doesn’t really open up like an animation or anything. Just when I go from year to year it just changes.

    My calendar is generally black and white except the snapshots that are in full color. My recall is generally limited by month, not the exact date of the month.

    • by Sprocketmonkey

    I was so glad to put a name to this, as I’d gradually realised that other people had no idea what I was talking about when I described the shape of my day,month or year pattern.

    My New Year is at the bottom of a huge rainbow-type shape, with mid-August at the peak, and I always wonder if this was my infant brain trying to make sense of the ‘depth of winter/height of summer’ phrases. My year, month and week lines go right to left, which I understand is back to front writing-wise, but is the same direction as traffic flow in the UK.

    Another thing I experience, which may or may not be related, is that when I touch a particular part of my mouth when cleaning my teeth, or my head when brushing my hair, it will automatically trigger a memory of a particular place.

    • by Lochie

    Hey i have sound -> grapheme synesthesia and I’m beginning to question whether or not i have SSS too.

    I’ve never actually put much thought into the way i remember things until very recently when i became aware of synesthesia! However for me everything is linear, it’s almost as if my physical self is on a line which goes to forwards (the future) and backwards (the past).

    I’ve always been able to just go ‘back in time’ and pick out a memory in vivid detail because I’ve ‘travelled’ back down this line of time i have going.

    Also, if you were to say a date, say 1990, i physically feel the distance (hard to explain) but then if you were to say the year 2000 i quite literally feel it being closer to my physical presence.

    Not sure if I’m making any sense but thats just the way i think!!

    cheers, lochie

    • by Heidi

    Hi –
    I believe I have spatial sequence synesthesia, especially after reading many of these posts. I organize and visualize time and numbers in spatial arrangements, in relation to my own position. I see seasons, months of the year, weeks of the month, days of the week, and even hours of the day in spatial arrangements. Like many others who have posted, some of these, such as months of the year, are arranged in an almost circular pattern, with Jan. in the upper right corner and progressing through a clockwise pattern. For a long time I assumed everyone saw units of time in this way, so I never understood why it was so difficult for some of my friends and family to keep track of appointments, events, etc. It wasn’t until I learned that others don’t visualize in the same ways that I realized the ways I conceived of time were an advantage to me. I also see decades and centuries spatially arranged, making it easy to remember my personal history, especially, but also history in general. Like others have shared, I also see numbers in spatial arrangements, which makes basic arithmetic fairly quick to process.

    Thank you for inviting people to share – it’s really interesting hearing about other people’s similar (and also unique) experiences!

  • OMG. I came across this because I have been writing a novel about a synesthete and wanted to find out more about it. I had no idea that what I have been seeing (the months around a circle in the air in front of me) was synesthesia. In fact, until I came across SSS, I assumed everyone saw months this way. I asked my husband how he “saw” the months and he just gave me a weird look and said, “What are you talking about.” I have always seen months this way and the months always fall in the same place. Not that this changes anything for me but… holy crow!

  • Hi! I have number for synesthesia, and a photographic memory!
    I copy-pasted this from a post I made on a different website with an alternate account:
    I have this too. I also have this for the months of the year, the years from 400 B.C-Present, The Alphabet, my name, lots of other words, and the days of the week. I’ll explain it in that order.For me, my numbers are weird, they also involve shading. My very first memory of using them was in first grade, when studying the Iditarod. We all chose someone and saw which place they came in at the end, I remember thinking in the little space of my numbers and saying, “He got tenth place” and seeing it on my map. I’ll try to describe it for you. I look at my map in different ways all the time, for the lowest numbers its mostly looking from one side. The numbers from one to ten slant to the right kind of steeply with a very light background, then it starts to get darker as 10-30 hits, and it goes up even sharper. By the time it is at 30, it is pretty dark so I can’t see the numbers, but I know that they’re there. They go vertically up until the number seventy, where they get lighter and slant to the left. Right at a hundred they become REALLY LIGHT. Then they keep on slanting to the left while I zoom out of the picture. They continue like this until 1000, where they go horizontally to the left. Then my mind becomes fuzzy from there until 10,000. I see the numbers from a very zoomed out point of view, with them slowly slanting to the left towards 1 MILLION!!! Which it says in bold at the top. The distance between one million, one billion, and one trillion is very short, and so is it from there to a quadrillion, all the way up to duodecillion. There it stops, and it skips to google plex, which is kind of like the previously mentioned 100. (By the way, million is yellow, billion is blue, and trillion is dark yellow) The months of the year are different though. January starts at the top center, February right on its left. March slants slightly down to the left and is steeply slanted until April. From May to June it is vertical, and then at June it starts going horizontally to the right for July and August. September slants right and up, October continues making the slant grow, until November and December are vertical. From there New Years Eve transports everything back to December to start it over again.The months of the year look different still. 400 to 1 B.C. is shielded by the wall that is 0. 1-1000 Quickly slants up to the right at a 45 degree angle. Then 1000-1800 slants more slightly up to the right. 1800-1900 slants less to the right, and 1900-1980 curves up at a more sloped angle. 1980-2000 curves down until it is level with 1800. Then 2000-Present slopes almost horizontal to the right.The alphabet is next.A-G all go up to the right at a 45 degree angle. G-K all go horizontally to the right. L-P go very sharply up to the right. P-V go horizontally again to the right, and then W-Z go up at another 45 degree angle.My name is very horizontal. My first name has a light background, which is white, my middle name has a black background, and my last name has an orange background.Lastly, The days of the week.I imagine the days of the week where October meets November. Monday curves up to the left getting steeper and steeper until Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday are horizontal to the left. I also see numbers, letters, and most words as colors. I thought it would be interesting to hear, hope this helped you understand better! Well anyway, Bye! πŸ™‚
    Yeah, well, this has always just been a subconscious thought.
    I also, when I think of a date, think of it zoomed in on the place on the map. I don’t think of the dates spread out around me, I’m either facing January, in the middle, or I’m on the correct month looking at the date right in the face.
    Yeah, second bye, I knew it, BYE!

    • by Stephanie

    wow i am so happy i found this. i read every single comment and it made me realize things that i see that are so natural to me i do not even realize. i am 20 years old and feel that and when i was a young child i always gave certain sounds and letters personalities, but as i got older i now just have SSS. it is a strong part of my every day life. i do it for not only months, years, times of the day, days of the week, but also for ages, grades in school, the alphabet, and numbers. i saw a comment from someone else named stephanie and it gave me chills hearing how she sees her decades, i also got to the 2000s and they seem to fade away and disappear from this point on. for me november – june are in a straight line facing one direction, while july and august are an opposite way, and then it circles back around to september and october being stacked right above november. monday through friday are stacked in a row, one on top of the other, while saturday and sunday are next to them stretching out just as long. saturday faces upside down and sunday faces monday. i guess this is why my weekends always seem so long to me and i feel like i have so much time to do things on weekends. whenever i think about my future, i see myself at that age on the map. my maps are a wide variety of random twists and curves and i have seen them since before i can remember. the ages stop at 100. entering age 20 was dramatic for me because ages 1-18 were in a straight line and i have now entered a completely new section. i realized i had this in high school and completely forgot about it because it is so natural until now. i have been recently having random, insignificant and vivid childhood flashbacks. i work at a preschool and i find when i am sitting outside watching the children play these things come to me. i had googled why this is happening and someone mentioned synesthasia – i was blown away and revisited the topic. it is so comforting to see that there others like me!

    • by Catherine

    This is funny, I’ve never spoken to/read about anyone that does this too. I can’t see if this is an old thread so sorry if I’m a bit late to contribute but I’m tickled so I’m gonna.

    I see time in space relative to myself. I can zoom in and zoom out if that makes sense, so each day is a circle, each week is a circle and each year is a circle (wheels within wheels). But then history of time and future is very much like stairs that wrap around me. Each stair is like a decade and is different colour and then there are wee bits that pop up, like piano keys, depending on if something very special happened (ie. world war 1, my brother’s birthday, favourite dates (or numbers)). I only discovered this was not a standard way of doing things when my flatmate caught me revising for my history of art exam at university and she said “Why is Manet’s Olympia written amongst all those squiggles?”. I have the same system with numbers and maths and I wonder if that was why I found maths in school so easy. I’m not an a*hole (honest) but I would always totally expect to get 100% in maths because everything made complete sense to me the whole way through high school.

    I’ve always associated this system with being bilingual from a young age, going between one language in my home and another in school and with my friends and having to come up with a unifying code or something.

    I do see letters in colour although it’s less vibrant than it was when I was at school so that does make me wonder about the bright school text thing you’ve written about.

    Most importantly me for me I see people as colours (I must instinctively assign) and I always trust the colour over any rational assessment I can make. The colour for a person can change as their character unfolds to me. I will never fully open up to a dark blue person, my good friends are pretty much all yellow.

    I draw a lot and for the most part can’t be bothered using colour although I do force myself sometimes. I wonder if this is because I have enough colour in my life already.

    • by Kelly

    I have always had a killer long term memory and the ability to recall events with uncanny detail and important conversations nearly verbatim. I usually can tell you where I was, who was there, where everyone was standing and what they were wearing. I knew I didn’t have an eidetic memory, but I had a hard time explaining to people how I remembered things like I did. I tended to explain it as my “filing cabinets” because I found people could relate to that. It is like I have filing cabinets all around me representing different days, months and years. They are stationary most of the time but I can “push” them around if I concentrate hard enough. When I want to recall something, I look to the filing cabinet that represents when the event took place. Then I open it up, pull out the file I’m looking for, and go from there. I’ve always been a good test taker for this reason. I could open the cabinet with the lecture, review the file, and answer the question. My teachers often commented that my essay answers almost mirrored their lecture verbatim. I will probably keep the filing cabinets because I’m used to them now, but it’s great to know what is going on and that I am not alone.

  • Hello !

    I was really surprised to discovered, quite recently, that what I’ve always perceived was a kind of Synesthesia. For instance I see, in permanence, the week’s day as a hopscotch, in an oval form, Wednesday facing the week-end. I’m kind of floating above the right day of the week. Months are also existing as a big ladder, with January on top, September down and October, November and December doing a strange thing, like a hook and magically catching January!
    And when I think about schools grades I always have my mind floating above my old schools, each part of the buildings being a grade.

    But I’ve got another weird thing that I’ve never heard off, and I’m wondering is some other people felt the same: I’m – my brain – is always in a special place, especially when I’m reading a book (and I’m always reading a book). The story of the book is superposing with the place, and the result is always absurd. This place can vary, but I haven’t got any control about it. It can be a room, a street, a golf course, a part of a building. Sometimes it changes abruptly, or because I’m re-reading (or even thinking of a book I’ve read) while superposing with another place.
    I’ve realized about the phenomenon a few years ago, but thinking about it, I’ve always had this weird superposition. Those places are quite numerous and always real places, outside or inside, places I know, or used to know very well. I visualize the place from a fixed point of view, as I’m standing or even floating. I don’t really see details or colors, but I apprehend very precisely masses and distances, a mix between memories and sonar.
    As I’m thinking a lot about that these days I’m very conscious of this fact. But I had only just a vague idea of it before, because it was normal! Now I’m seeing both places (the mental place and the places of the book’s story, all crammed in the rather small mental place) all the time. It’s a bit like this drawing, in which you can see an old woman’s face or the naked body of a young one: at first you see only one of the two, but when you’ve seen the double possibility you can perfectly see both drawings – but never in the same time, you have to switch back and forth.

    So… is it spacial synesthesia too?
    (It’s so weird… but also so natural! ^-^)

    • by Ben

    I also have Spatial Sequence Synesthesia. Oddly enough, my mother also have it, although it differs.

    I do have a visualisation of time and history like someone before has explained it, grouped in millenniums and centuries. My year calendar is also round, with January at the bottom and July at the top. The numbers are ordinated from left to right all the way to the trillions.

    Interesting to see how we all sort of share similar visual patterns.

    • by sugaree

    It’s so cool to find a site on synesthesia in general and especially so to find info on SSS! I had no idea I experience SSS until a year ago when I stumbled across a Wikipedia article on it when looking up abilities associated with my 8 year old daughter’s ambidexterity (she can use both hands as well as a righty’s right hand, a type of ambidexterity known as ambidextral). Anyway, when I read about SSS, I was shocked – until then, I thought everyone had a giant space timeline that surrounded them and that everyone knows noon floats above their head!

    Linear time for me runs left to right while repetitive/cyclical time (hours, days, weeks, years, etc) exist in their own circles around me or above me. I don’t have the same intensity of visualization as I did as a child, it’s all something I do automatically without as much thought now as an adult. I have been able to recall a lot of my visualizations of theoretical and intangibles since focusing on how I assign intangible theories a spatial coordinate and/or visualization. I also file my memories in my giant space timeline which allows for near perfect recall of almost anything I read, all of what I write while focusing on the act of writing and the majority of what I experience. I can also recall my feelings, thoughts, experiences, surroundings, etc of those events and when they occur both as a time/date and in relation to other events. My memories are all vivid, like they happened this morning, and extend back to very early childhood.

    I also feel the meaning of words, sometimes with visceral and physical reactions which is an ability I’d like to explore further and learn about. It’s a cool experience and I had no idea that everyone didn’t also feel words until my daughter started exhibiting the same ability as a toddler (around the same age it started for me) and others pointed out her ability was exceptional. I suspect this is connected to SSS in some way as for me, these physical experiences of words and their meanings is tied to my memory/recall. I also suspect this has been a major contributor to both my daughter and I developing language and reading skills very early in childhood. We could both form coherent sentences before our first birthdays, I remember reading on my own at age 3 (confirmed by my parents) and my daughter could read at a first grade level before turning 4. She also has incredible comic timing and understands social concepts well beyond her life experience.

    Since realizing my experience of time, memory, filing of events, language, etc isn’t the way most people experience them, I’ve identified several other family members that experience SSS, have exceptional memory recall, and possibly other types of synesthesia. My maternal grandmother was ambidextral, had an extraordinary memory and likely experienced SSS. My paternal grandmother and I discussed our space timelines and how they assist our respective photographic memory and recall. She also shares the same ability to feel the meaning of words and possesses way above average reading and language skills. As I alluded to above, I’m certain my daughter experiences SSS (this summer we were both thoroughly irritated by a museum’s giant wall-mural-timeline because it was “backwards”, running right to left instead of left to right) along with an exceptional memory, language and math skills, the innate ability to recall info by “looking through the pictures in her head” and feeling the meaning of word which leads to some really cool conversations πŸ™‚ My 10 year old son has also exhibited the ability to make connections way outside the box and I suspect he experiences synesthesia in ways different than I do so it’s not as identifiable to me as my daughter’s abilities are, but he definitely has abilities beyond those of the average person.

    I don’t know how much I can do with my abilities at this point in my life, but I’d love to help my children expand on their abilities and use them to their fullest extent. I’m open to any info or direction on how to make the most out of the gifts we have!

    • by Erin

    I experience this but can trace back why I do. I visualize the days of the week in a circle because that is how I learned them– my kindergarten classroom was set up in a circle of 7 tables, each table represented a day of the week. I visualize the months on a timeline similar to the timeline posted on the wall in my classroom. Can anyone relate to this? The visualization comes from the physical space in which you first learned a concept?

    • by Ivan Arturo

    Hi. I just found out I have Synesthesia. It’s funny because I’ve never thought I would be part of a small percent of people that have common senses like me, which I thought was pretty normal for everyone. I see numbers, letters, days, months, hours, etc in colors. I mean I associate it naturally with an specific color, not many colors but it’s usually (red), (red-brown) (light-green) and a couple of others. I also have this sort of spatial sequence synesthesia. I imagine years in order, like boxes, and each of them has 12 months, each month has its color, etc. My case is that I always knew I had a good memory, and always wondered why many people get stucked when they wanted to associate a particular event with the year, I mean I know that a a big party we had at school was two months ago, because I naturally associate it with the calendar inside my head. Once I asked how others see their months, numbers, etc because for me it was pretty normal, and I had no answer, like why would you imagine numbers, days, etc. I was shocked, because it’s very useful and it gives a sense of location, plus it comes naturally not purpose. I mean If din’t have this I would feel like empty, it’s weird.

    • by Nicole

    Hi, I really liked reading your article and all of the comments. I have several types of synesthesia; grapheme-color, spatial-sequence, chromesthesia, and tactile-color (I am legally blind, and I read Braille. The entire braille code is color coded.) I am currently finishing up my last semester at college, and I am doing an independent study with a professor on synesthesia. We both think it is extremely interesting that I am legally blind, and I can see all kinds of colors with graphemes, time, and sound. I am very curious to learn about synesthesia in the blind and visually impaired, and there is some data on it, but very little. My spatial sequence synesthesia is a little different then what I have been reading on this site. My months, days of the week, and hours all start at the right and go left. That might be because I knew Hebrew before English, and that reads from right to left. Whatever month, day, week it is, it is the most clear in my head while everything else on either side is smaller as the time goes back or forward. As time goes on, the colors of the time move like you would move clothes on a clothes wrack. Even though I am legally blind, I have a great sense of direction. I am always aware of what direction I am facing, and I can mentally rotate maps and time in my head. Thanks for the really interesting information. πŸ™‚

    • by Hamzah

    Hi, i actually ‘discovered’ synesthesia online and never mentioned it to anyone else because i thought it was strictly those sound to colors or numbers to colors. so synesthesia was never weird to me until i looked up on it again and found out what ive been experiencing is also synesthesia! pretty cool. it’s surprising how the people i tell my experiences to are really shocked.

    Unlike the comments that ive read here, i dont view time like a circle, well, depends. When imagine years specifically, i place them on a clock in my head (not outside my body though), like my birth year 1994 would be the clock hand pointing to 4. But the pattern can be pretty weird, any year from the 1960s would point to 6, 1930s to 3 etc. but the 90s would be specific (like above); the 2000s would be the same as well.

    For days of the week, months, and years, i see them like a bar with the start of each sequence (eg monday, january) at the bottom left and the end at the top right (again, in my head, not outside); and like one of the commenters on here said i can zoom in and out depending on which one i concentrating on.

    strangely enough, though, im very bad with dates, i can only think in days, so when i make plans it always has to be in days (eg wednesday next week, this saturday, upcoming thursday etc etc)

    • by stephanie

    Hi. I was just recently trying to figure out if it’s just me or if it is a normal thing to see the year in my mind as a pinwheel. Samantha perfectly described the way I see the year as a whole. When I think back on times in my life, i retrieve the information from this pin wheel of months where December and January are on the very bottom, march and April are on the right, June and July on the very top, July on the right, June on the left, and Sept and October on the center left, and Feb, may, Aug, and November are at the curves of the pinwheel. Like Samantha said, the start of the year is at the bottom and it goes counter clockwise. I seem to store memories unintentionally but naturally according to my stand point on this pinwheel of months. I think of it as a month by month yearly planner that I tap into whenever I want to remember something or plan for something in the future. It sounds weird and it’s hard to describe but I thought everyone viewed the months in a way similar to the way I do but apparently my fiance doesn’t and thinks it’s oddly funny that I do. How else do people store memories and plan for the future if u have no biological calendar to refer to in your mind? Lol

    • by Kelly

    I have grapheme-color and space-time synesthesia, in addition to associating months and days of the week with colors as well (for example, I get irrationally unnerved when a calendar associates March with a color that’s not dark green, or November with a color that’s not pure brown). For the spatial sequence synesthesia, I see the year as many people do in a circle with myself standing on today, and if I go clockwise (to the left) I go into the past or counterclockwise (to the right) I go into the future. In addition, weeks are straight lines and I view days vertically, but the opposite of a normal commercial planner. For me, mornings are at the bottom of the day, and then you travel up through the day to midnight. The hours from about midnight to about 6am are in this weird area that descends between the days. My apologies if this is confusing, it is very hard to explain.

    I also remember specific details from many random days throughout my life, and which day of the week most dates are in my lifetime. It sounds like other people on this forum have similar experiences. I had always just attributed this to my space-time synesthesia, but I recently found out there is a true scientific connection between the phenomenons.

    I’ve had synesthesia for as long as I can remember, but I always thought it was normal and everyone had it. When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate came back from a psychology class and announced she had synesthesia. She explained what it is, and I 1) realized I had it too, and 2) was fascinated that it’s not a common thing. It’s great to identify friends and family who have it by saying to them “A is red,” and seeing whether they look really confused, or agree and say “yes, but actually it’s white for me.”

    I’m wondering for people who have grapheme-color synesthesia, do you randomly highlight computer text when you read it? I used to think that was normal until a friend told me a few years ago that it’s not, so I’m curious if it’s connected with grapheme-color synesthesia, like if white computer text is easier to read than colored text because we already associate letters and words with colors.

    • by Kenneth Jaffe

    I was talking to my daughter yesterday, who has chromo-numeric and alphabetic synasthesia. I had always been fascinated by this fact ever since I learned decades ago about the Russian composer Scriabin who created a color organ that lit up notes that corresponded to his own perceptions. I was surprised to realize in talking to my daughter that I had a form of synasthesia, too, but that I had never recognized it as such, not thinking that my spatial references to numbers, years, and to calendrical cycles actually constitued a form of synasthesia.
    Ever since I can remember, my perception of numbers is that they go up vertically from 0-10, take a right turn from 11-20, then continue going up vertically past that point but interestingly, their spatial relationship gets vaguer once you get over a hundred. There is a rough sense of more horizontally, but it is mutable.
    Regarding the years, my relationship to them is more interactive. Although the timeline itself stays somewhat static, moving linearly from left to right from BCE all the way through around the late 1700’s and then moving up vertically till 2000, where we move to the right horizontally, the most interesting part of this is that I can kind of do an “astral travel” around my construct, viewing it from various angles at will. It is like a 3-d sculpture in that sense.
    The same goes for me with the months, which is eerily like the graphic given at the beginning of this posting. The shape and orientation of my circle of months is almost identical, EXCEPT that my month calendar is not color-coded, and goes counter-clockwise, with December/January being at 6 oclock, April at around 3 o’clock, July at 12 oclock, and October being at around 9 oclock. Like my year construct, I can zoom out and view it from above or from the angle shown in the graph in the article, or I can zoom down from above or kind of come in close and “drive” on it like a highway, so to speak, viewing the construct from any orientation on the circle. In general, though, the circle is oriented more or less parallel to horizon.
    Finally, my week cycle goes around clock-wise as opposed to my months. It is a modified oval shape, with the weekend stretched out so that it doesn’t make a perfect oval, but in some sense, it does not correspond to a shape that can be described in Euclidian terms, since the week is perceived by me as being asymmetrical – it’s hard to describe. Here, there is no true north/12 oclock. Instead, I go around it so often during each week cycle, that it has no true orientation as such. I still can travel around it conceptually at will.

    • by Kenneth Jaffe

    PS: whenever people talk about setting appointments or meetings and say, we need to push it up or back, it completely throws me off, because later hours are higher up and earlier hours are back, so I always need to rephrase what people say to them as earlier or later, so I don’t get confused.

    • by Cathy

    Wow – I just learned today that my weird way of picturing time is spatial sequencing synesthesia. I have always pictured the year as a large circle (open in the middle) with the months going clock-wise from January at the 1:00 position, down to July and August (which are more or less at the bottom together), then spacing out for the last few heading up to December which is at 12:00. I remember trying to explain this to people a few times, and they looked at me strangely, but I just thought it was me.

    I also picture weeks as an oblong circle, with Monday through Friday along the bottom – this time going counter-clockwise – then Saturday and Sunday are alone at the top. As the week progresses I see it more from the perspective of that day’s position.

    The alphabet I have a hazier picture of – more or less in a straight line from left to right, and numbers are similar to that too.

    I don’t know if this is somehow related, but I’ve always had to picture myself doing something, or eating or drinking something, before I can decide whether it’s what I want to do. I’ve learned to do that fairly quickly but sometimes my husband makes fun of me if it takes longer than usual πŸ™‚

    I’ve also had what I’ve thought of as a bit of a photographic memory. This really helped in school – I could remember the teacher writing on the board and what was written usually. I also have a very good memory for verbal conversations and can often almost perfectly remember what was said.

    Glad to know there are others like me out there!

    • by hannah

    I see the days of the week and months of the year as certain colours |(Monday – yellow, Tuesday – blue, Wednesday – green, thursday – deep red, Friday – dark purple/blue, Saturday – white and sunday – orange) and I also have a set number timeline in my head which I visualize numbers on, I also see the days of the week as a cycle with Monday beginning on the right and circling clockwise until sunday joins Monday, I also see the months set out in a specific way. Im 17 and never even realised synthesnesia was a thing! I thought other people saw it the same way as I did and I cant see the days and months and numbers any other way!
    good to know other people experience this too!

    • by anna

    yep… crazy, I thought that’s how everybody see it:)))))))))))) didn’t know it is rare, and yes, I remember way back to times, I couldn’t walk and speak as a baby:) thank god I don’t remember my own birth experience, though pretty close to that. I could never understand how people don’t remember anything before they were 2 years old:)))))))))))) cos I do:)))

    • by anna

    to add, my numbers/dates sequences are never in circles or clockwise.

    • by Andi

    Hey! This was an awesome read. I love reading about other peoples experiences with this type of synesthesia. Here is my own! The months of the year are in sort of oblong oval around me, but to me, my position around the months changes, so if I turn around I am always looking back at the previous month and looking forward I am looking at the month ahead. My dad has a similar experience with the days of the week, except he sees the week like a wavy line that he travels on. We both also have genders and personalities for our numbers. It’s fun comparing our experience with each other!

    • by Dean Reynolds

    Wow! I always wondered what this was and when I tried to describe it nobody understood. Last year I was sick of the same visual (like having the same wall calendar hung up in your room forever) so I tried to change it but it didn’t stick. I was always very good at math and set the curve in calculus classes in college but surprisingly have difficult with math in my head. For some reason the visualization for me actually creates a barrier for concentration. I have a fairly good memory for numbers themselves such as phone numbers, addresses, dates, but I’m no savant.

    • by Duncan

    A colour synesthesiast frind of mine told me about it recently and it made me realise that my seeing dates links in. My days of the week are in a diagonal line starting behind my left shoulder (for recent days in the past) running forward and to the right at 45 degrees. The line is in the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge, where weekends are higher like the towers and the line dips down between the towers and back up again to the next weekend. So a Tuesday is lower than the Monday the previous day, but the Thursday of that week is the same height as Tuesday as it’s going up to Friday and on up to the weekend. Saturdays and Sundays plateau.

    My calendar is similar, with a year starting in December, rising to the tower of Christmas, then the line dips down to the summer and back up to the next tower of next Christmas and then fades away in the January dip thereafter. If I think of a date beyond that, I kind of slide along the line until I get there, still seeing two Christmas towers and about 14 months in total at any one time.

    I thought everyone saw dates like that. My wife thinks I need an institution now I explained it to her, so perhaps not everyone does!

    • by Mim

    Both my brother and I have synesthesia related to sound. When I listen to music, I don’t just get colors, I get places, weather conditions, sense of time (time of day, year, century, etc) – an entire mind movie which has nothing to do with the content of the music whatsoever. I visualize everything except numbers. For some reason, they won’t hold still; they explode, disintegrate, stand on their heads, etc. every time I try to see them to do any sort of math. This has been extremely frustrating and I would love to know how to conquer this and turn it around. Any time I study anything else, I get a complete view of it in my mind’s eye as I’m reading about it and can call it back up again when needed (such as for classwork or tests). The only way I can keep a number in my head is to see each number in its color. It works for phone numbers and the like, but you can’t do equations with it. If you know any strategies to turn this around, please let me know.

    Thanks.

    • by Gingerajm

    I’m not sure if this is number form synthesia but I visualize in my minds eye the three times tables as a pond. 3 to 18 are on “land” or brown soil and 21 to 36 are on Lilly pads over water. I also see a number line in my minds eye that I can “scroll through” at whim. It is horizontal until twenty but after the numbers switch to a vertical orientation. Various patterns of numbers take on various “scrolling directions” but I can see them clearly in my mind.

    • by Martha

    My daughter called and asked me to do some research on this. She said she has always done this. (Now she and I will have to have some more conversation on this subject.)
    I have always had a pattern in my head about the months of the year. On the bottom left is Sept. The line runs straight up to Dec. Then the line takes a sharp turn to the right and continues thru June. When we get thru June, immediately the line begins to go straight down,( curving to look almost like a “j” , and we end up at Sept. again.
    I don’t know when I first saw this. I’ve always thought the first major point was Sept, when school started. The next major turning point was Dec ( Christmas ! ), and time drifts along until June; the last month of my school year. Summer just kind of drifted by, until it was Sept. and time to start school. Interesting.

    • by Kee

    Hi, I don’t know what this is but when I think of time, such as: the year, the week, hours and minutes and stuff as individual wheels of colour? A year is a really huge wheel that moves slowly and the colours are segmented by the season and it moves very slowly. It stands up. Then the days of the week is/are smaller wheels that are thinner and move faster and are horizontal. Kind of like that?
    I find it hard to make sense of graphs and stuff that have time as something linear and not continuous. If the sunday doesnt loop into the monday then I struggle to process it?

    • by Rachel Edelson

    I’ve read through this whole site, which has no reference to my form of synaesthesia: I am Never Not Reading, a gift I call Letteral Invision. Literally everything I say, hear and think goes across my visual field from left to right, in what I call my Ticker Tape. I mean everything. I generally become aware of it only in moments of what I call homonymic confusion – hearing “miners” and thinking someone means “minors, ” or “genes” for “jeans”. One reason I become aware of this is because I am always tracking the meaning of the person I’m listening to, because I’m always reading what that person is saying, AND anticipating what that person’s going to say next. Twenty yeas ago I attended a Mind Brain conference at UC Berkeley with George Lakoff and John Searles. I was completely on the wavelength of the latter, who was very witty. I found myself bursting into laughter when he hadn’t remotely finished his “paragraph,” precisely because I was already reading his “punchline.” That was an extreme version, but I always do it: anticipating what someone’s going to say next, because I’m always reading his/her words.

    Thirteen years ago, having that month fallen madly in love with someone, I developed what I call my “gut ticker tape” : whereas my lifelong version merely transcribes across my visual field what I’m at that moment thinking / saying, and doing the same with what I’m hearing from another person (although in that case, as I indicated, also anticipating his/her words) , my gut ticker tape works entirely differently: it writes to me things I didn’t know knew, and does so with words that I see floating up from my belly. The first time my gut ticker tape started, I was describing to a friend a blue barometer I’d just bought for the man I’d fallen in love with. As I spoke to my friend, directly beneath the words “blue barometer” I saw the words “lie detector.” I was both amazed and displeased, wanting nothing about lies to be connected to my new passion. But, as is always the case with my gut ticker tape, it knew what I didn’t already know: in fact that intense, fantasy-based relationship blew up within a month. Since then, this version of my ticker tape writes for me my intuitions, information that I don’t already know consciously.

    I’ve recently learned about the enteric nervous system, our gut brain that has 100 – 500 million neurons – depending on the source one reads; and our heart brain, that has 50,000 neurons. Why would it not be the case that my enteric nervous system literally writes information to me, as my head brain does? But does it from a different place within my body, literally the place from which we receive our gut feelings?

    I’m a college English professor. Given that perhaps five of my students have described possessing exactly the visual field ticker tape that I have, and also that my two best friends have a version of it, not to mention my daughter, I’m surprised not to see this form of synaesthesia described on this site.

    Any takers?

    Also, it interests me that my brilliant poet husband. who writes for hours every day, can’t see words as I spell them to him; he has to write them down, to see them, whereas I can’t not see any word I hear: to hear it is to see it.

    Also, when I accompany him to poetry readings, I’m of course always reading what the poets are saying, which is convenient. However, the words I read always vanish as they’re being spoken.

    • by Carol

    I don’t know if this is relative to this article or not: but ever since I have been a small child I have had a mental picture for each day of the week. It is how I picture a day or how I remember what day it is and these images have never changed and I am now 59 years old. I will give you my list, it is as follows: Monday is a bib with circles on it, Tuesday is a pair of bobby socks, Wednesday is windshield wipers, Thursday is a treddle on an old fashioned sewing machine, Friday is a motorcycle, Saturday is a lime green sheet of paper and Sunday is the NBC Peacock, the old one. I have a great memory for numbers, phone numbers, zip codes, etc. I have absolutely no sense of direction to the point where it is a handicap.

    • by Alba

    Hi, I took the quiz and it said that I do not have synesthesia, yet, reading other people’s comments I see that I experience a lot of what they describe as spatial synesthesia. I see the months of the year as a chain, not quite round or oval. I’m always at February and the months descend in front of me and veer to the left with January ending up behind me. I teach and have summers off, so July and August are a little more stretched out than the other months and for some reason September-December seem a little squished. The days of the week look almost like stair steps going down and forward. For some reason Wednesday dips down a little. There are no colors, tastes or sounds associated with what I see. Is this synesthesia at all?

    • by Tegan

    Hey, u may call me weird searching this stuff up cause I’m only 13, but I have gone my whole life thinking things like this was normal until not that long ago I found out that I had synesthesia, I can taste words and each number has a colour in my head and stuff. But reading through this I think I might have time-space synesthesia. My years are like a curved line in front of me ( like a semi circle ) and January is to my right and it runs straight through to December which is on my left, it’s back to front like a chinease book. And also each month has a colour. Like December and September are green, and even typing the words now I picture them as the colour green. It’s weird ik. And yes, I also have amazing memory but I see my memories as a third person, watching myself. I find this quite creepy, like I can see my 6 year old self in a pink top with white shorts in Portugal looking through a telescope with my cousin bliss. Let me know if people can relate please πŸ™‚

    • by Colin

    You probably get a lot of comments like this, but I have spatial sequence synesthesia! It’s a really helpful tool to remember dates, but can be a little tiring sometimes. I don’t see the dates around me though, I see them in certain places. Not places in the real world, though. Dreamlike places that have different random colors for sections of each number set, year, etc. I don’t really know how I formed these associations in my mind, I just have always thought of the 1990s as being in front of a white background and bending off into the blue 2000s. These images can be great for remembering things! I’ve always been great at memorizing and spelling because of the colors of letters/numbers and imagining each date in a place! All I have to do is think of the general place where the number was, and the colors, and I can remember the date. πŸ˜› Anyway, spatial sequence synesthesia’s really interesting and I hope that my thoughts on it were helpful (if not redundant) πŸ™‚

    • by djones

    I do this. Days of the week are like tiles I am “in.” A year is a circle. I can pinpoint dates across the circle. And years stack up one on top of the other. 1900 to now, pre-1900 in stacks of a century each.

    • by Melanie

    Hi,
    I can fully subscribe to seeing number sequences and calendar elements in physical space. I also associate tastes with colors. Is there a name for that too? Might say (or rather think, as I get strange looks if I say it out loud) that something tastes yellow for example. This hasn’t happened in a while so I can’t think of a good example.
    Thanks for sharing the above!
    M.

    • by Sanjana

    Hi! I know for sure that I have grapheme- color synesthesia. However, I am unsure as to whether I have spatial sequence synesthesia or not. I envision the months of the year in a particular order such as January at the bottom and the summer months stretching out sideways and then the fall months to go diagonally up again until December, at the very top. However, it is not 3D (such as, it isn’t really three feet away behind me or something like that) and in my head. I envision a very particular timeline of years also– again, though, not in actual space. I kinda do this with numbers, in a way, also. I can also look at the timeline in different angles as well. I thought this was normal…??

    • by Margaret Walker

    I have always seen things spatially especially years, months, days etc. I was born in 1943 and it came as a real shock to me ( that really bothered me) when I was filling in a date of birth on a form a few years ago and I suddenly blurted out that I had 1943 where 1947 should be and I had always had it there. It really threw me off and I couldn’t get it moved in my head for quite while. It still slips back into the 1947 place occasionally. That got me looking at other years and I realized that there were a few years in the wrong ‘place’. I had to concentrate hard to ‘move’ them and it took a while.
    I see months and years in a linear fashion . Past ones fall off downwards to the left and future ones go upwards to the right. Future ones are also coloured and have a brightness to them whereas past ones are colourless or at least grey.
    The days of the week are rigidly placed and when I am trying to recall something it is almost like going through a Rolodex as I scroll back to the date I want.. The days are also shaded but only Thursday( purple) Friday ( yellow ) and Saturday ( white) are coloured.
    I recently had an argument with my husband when we bought a new desk calendar that began in December. He immediately wanted us to start using it and filled in the appointments. I couldn’t agree as I could clearly see the current calendar spatially. I could remember not just all the appointments but even which lines and what inks they were written in . December is far too busy a month for me to be willing to lose that information.
    The hours of the day are also stored spatially but for some strange reason that only applies to hours for which I have something planned. It is as though I have a blank grid in front of me and hours are slotted in as needed.
    It is difficult to describe spatial storage of this kind. I sometimes think of it like warehouse shelving and have no difficulty finding things on the shelves.
    I do have some colour related numbers and letters but more particularly names but they are scattered and not consistent.
    I was quite surprised to discover that apart from one niece no one else in my family seems to think this way.

    • by Raelene

    It seems I have had a similar reaction to a lot of people who have commented here when I recently discovered that the way I see numbers/dates/days of week/time of day/months is actually “a thing”! How amazing that I am not the only one who sees things this way. As long as I can remember I have seen numbers in the same way -zero to 20 in a straight line, then turning left to 30, then 31 starting at a different point, all the way to 100, then the numbers from each hundred to the next eg. 100-200 in the same order/direction as described for 0 to 100, all the way up to 1000, and then it repeats. Where the numbers are in relation to me depends on the context, but most of the time I am at my current age either looking forward or back depending on the number I am thinking of or the context (ie maths problem). For example if I am helping my son with addition/subtraction I can be at a different position, often at 10 or 20, and the numbers are still in the same positions as always but I see them from a different angle. Although it’s never been something I have dwelt on I have mentioned it over the years to a few different people and always had that the response that they have no idea what I’m talking about. I also see the months however mine is not a circle but a straight line from January to December and then returning to the start for the next year, but where I am placed depends on the current date and I’ll either see the month in front of me or it is behind me (and I’m not facing the months behind me but I’m aware they’re there). Days of week I see as a large rectangle with Sunday/Saturday at the top and Mon-Fri at the bottom, (so Sat & Sun take up as much space as the five weekdays) but where I am depends on the current day. (so, if it’s Saturday and I’m thinking about something on Monday, I’m looking in a North-West direction). With dates/years, interestingly I see them in exactly the same order/direction as I see numbers (ie the years 1900-2000 are “mapped” just like 0-100). I am almost always in the position of the current year looking back at previous years with main focal points being the current year and my birth year. Future years are behind/next to me but I am not facing them.

    • by Lisa

    I just recently started reading about different forms of synesthesia when I casually talked in a conversation about how I see a flash of light when I hear a sudden sound in a quiet and dark place (…”wait you mean you guys have never had that??”). Other than this occurrence though I don’t have any reason to believe that I can see sound (and I am a musician but never see colours when I hear or play musical notes). I then began to read about the different types of synesthesia out of general interest and it turns out that I identify extremely with spatial sequence synesthesia.

    I see a year in a horizontal oval in front of me which is clipped at the top where the summer months are, and for some reason they are different (maybe because I’ve been a student for so long and it is ingrained in me ) – they are a different colour but I can’t really state an exact colour for anything in the oval. It is really hard trying to explain this!

    The funny thing is that I was never fully conscious of this, and had never really thought about the fact that I “see” things in this way. My days of the week are on squares which move farther away and up as they go (…”wait so not everyone sees this in the space around them like this?”…)
    I can also recall exact dates of most events in my life, whether significant or not. I also just read about hyperthymestic syndrome for the first time about 5 minutes and I find it interesting because I have always been very good at recalling exact details of past experiences since a very early age – sometimes baffling my family and friends.

    Anyway, I suppose the point of my writing here is to try and get some of the stuff that’s been in my brain that I have recently become aware of on a more conscious level out. I’m also not sure if I actually have synesthesia.
    Thoughts? Can anyone comment on hyperthymestic syndrome and the sensation of seeing a flash of light when hearing a sound in a dark and quiet place?

    P.S.: For anyone who might be interested, I found Sir Francis Galton’s “Visions of Sane Persons” to be quite a fascinating read!

    • by Stacy Fore.

    I had no idea I wasn’t alone. I thought I was odd but I guess not! My months are counter clockwise, January being 12 and Feb 11 so on…my days of the week are linear though? Dates in my life are located in different positions around me and I search for things I’m trying to remember in correlation with the space around me.

    • by Marie Clarke

    I have just found out about spatial sequence synesthesia, partly from watching ‘The Brain with Dr David Eagleton’ and then reading this website. I have always seen the week as a shape – Monday to Friday in a horse shoe shape with Saturday and Sunday at the bottom side by side. Whatever day I am in I experience it as being in that position on the horse shoe. Do I have synesthesia?

    • by Jesse H

    Hello,

    I have several forms of synesthesia, and have been doing my own occasional research over the past few years, to hopefully understand myself better. I have spatial sequence synesthesia. When I count out numericals in order they always follow the same path and occupy the same space in front of me. The same is true of months, years, days of the week… etc. I do believe that my memory is enhanced by all forms of synesthesia though, because I not only have the physical memory to go by, but the color and space of it as well. So even if I don’t fully remember something, it’s only a matter of time before my Synthetic indicators lead me back to that physical memory. That being said, I love having this condition, like most of you, I can’t imagine not having it and it wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized not everyone saw the work the way I do. I have had little experience in talking with other synesthetes, as they are difficult to pick out from a crowd. I’m curious of there are any cons to having it that I maybe haven’t noticed or aren’t associated with the types I have. By the way, I have Spatial Sequence, Sound-Color, Grapheme-Color, Sound-Vision, Grapheme-Personification and several others that I’m on the fence about because it’s hard to tell what’s what at a certain point, and some seem insignificant to mention.

    Lastly, I’m curious if a large portion of synesthetes were born premature, but I have found no info relating to this. I was born 11 weeks premature and wonder if that resulted in my condition. Would love to hear back from anyone with an opinion. Cheers!

    • by Jamie

    I just learned about synesthesia a couple of days ago. I guess I have a couple of types of synesthesia. I associate most things with a color: letters, numbers, names, languages, centuries, months, places, music, certain fragrances… I also visualize dates. It’s sort of like I see the old card catalogue drawers from a library almost. 1900’s-2005 is in front of me, slightly at an angle, going past me on my right. (I have to mentally step back to see 2005-present.) 1800’s are perpendicular to the early 1900’s. Then the 1700’s are to the left of the 1800’s, running parallel to the 1900’s. 100AD-1600’s are in a shelf/case/area behind the modern eras, all in a row oriented the same direction as the 1900’s. History up to 100AD is along the left “wall” in the back, flat against the “wall”; however, I can more easily zoom in on it than on the 0AD-1600’s drawers. I can also overlay a world map on this “room.” 1900’s are on the west coast of the U.S. (where I live), the 1800’s along the south U.S. (I guess I associate with the Civil War), and the 1700’s along the east coast (associate with the original 13 colonies). 100AD-1400’s are in Europe. When I turn on “map view,” the 1500’s and 1600’s move to South America. Ancient history still remains separate, not on the map, and still able to zoom in and out of easily. When I think of a historical event, I imagine pulling that event “card” out of the chronologically organized century drawer. Each century has color too.

    For months, I imagine a “track” around me. I think I turn as the year goes on so I’m facing a different direction. Right now, spring months are on my right, summer in front of me, fall in my left, and winter behind me. Each month and season have a color. I also imagine another ring/track next to the months one that breaks down weeks and days. Little boxes/cards show up next to days/weeks with important events. Each event has its own color, and some have pictures/icons (example a tree for camping and an airplane for my son’s birthday).

    Ironically, my memory overall is TERRIBLE. My short-term memory is so bad I am always thinking I’ve lost something, even when I’m holding it. I am horrible with names and faces, probably because when I hear someone’s name, instead of picturing their face, I picture their name spelled out and in a certain color. If I really try, I can visualize faces, except for the people I’m closest to (ie. my son, my husband); I can never see their faces. I know what their facial characteristics are, but it’s like I forget what they look like every time I look away. Even in dreams I can’t see people’s faces. However, with the people I’m closest to, I feel them- like they’re holding me or I’m holding them.

    With my long-term memory, I can recall for example, a phone number I memorized 8+ years ago, only used a couple of times, and have thought of in years. I don’t see the phone number in color, but I hear it (like I’m saying it back to myself). However, I can’t remember events and things most people do. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert who lives more in my head? I can remember thoughts I had when playing with a toy when I was two, but when I talk with friends about our experiences in our high school (which was comprised of only 30 students), it’s like I never attended that school. All these things that happened that I have no memory of.

    • by Anna

    Thank you so much! I am glad to know that this is an actual thing. I thought it was natural, but I guess not. Is it strange that if the calendar year/week is put in a different form or position than how I see it, I get really frustrated? Sometimes, the month/day sizes are right, but the actual positioning is really aggravating. If I see something that doesn’t put January to the right, or thursday at the bottom-right of the circle/oval, I get quite annoyed and distracted. Is that normal?

    • by Clare

    I have this, have talked to many people about it and have had strange looks off them. Not sure if my blood family think the same as not in xo tact with the paternal side.

    I think of weeks as a circle in front of my body with Saturday and Sunday to the left mo day just off dead front, Wednesday is always bigger on my right side. It’s not just. Circle though it is a spiral with weeks just gone above and weeks to come below.

    My months are similar, but the circle goes around my body, with January being just over my left shoulder. August is always bigger than the rest of the months. The years form a spiral as the week’s do.

    When I think of a number sequence is a line in front of me going from lower left where one is to 100 which is higer right, all other numbers seem so out of reach going off into the air to the right.

    I have a friend who thinks in colour, her numbers and letters have colour. But didn’t think the way I thought was anything extra ordinary.

    I am a very visual person, music brings back very vivid images and memories for me and even smells. I remember things in the visual. It’s good to finally have a word for what I experience.

    • by Jeannine

    I have this and I’ve only just learned what it is…I’m ecstatic! Recently, I posted drawings of my perception of time and space in the hopes that someone would know what it meant. No one commented. Then I began hearing words in running water, I looked it up and found Spatio temporal synesthesia instead. I hope anyone else who has synesthesia will realize just how wonderful this is and what it means.

    • by Priscilla

    It’s so great to know other people visualize things as nearly as I do.
    I have the dates of the week in my minds eye from left to right and months from top to botto.. I skip from year to year from 31st Dec in the bottom and jump to January 1st on the right, but at the top.
    I thought it was normal till I realized it might not be for ecrryone but it certainly makes my life easier .
    I do this for time (the clock) , numbers, the alphabet etc

    • by Georgia

    Thank you so much for writing this article! I was doing research for a speech on the difficulties of certain types of synesthesia and I didn’t realize that this type even existed. I related to almost all of what you said and wanted to share additional experiences and I’m going to look more into this to see if it’s possible if I have it.
    I’ve always been good at doing math in my head and it’s because I see the numbers in front of my face. I sometimes write in the air to cross out certain numbers or to carry the one.

    • by Georgia

    I can visualize number lines to see where on a line a certain number will be. I had never thought about the months and days but this I understand as well and relate to. All the days are in a calendar all around me. Thank you for writing this!

    • by Dawn

    Wow! I have always experienced this. I think I only tried to explain this to my husband once and never anyone else. I actually never think to and it seems strange to explain. I didn’t know it had a name or that others experience it. For me I see the calendar like this. Each month has a position on an odd shaped circle/square, kind of, and the months turn in different ways, beginning to end, relative to each other. I’ve done this all of my life, on a daily basis. I also visualize the days of the week similarly, with a more simple pattern. Thanks for all of the shares. I don’t feel so strange.

    • by Lydia

    I’m almost 40 but only just discovered that I have time-space synesthesia!

    Until I read about this in a newspaper, I assumed everyone visualised a year as a big circle around their body, or time as a long tape going from left to write with pictures of major events along it.

    Today I had a disagreement with a work colleague about a piece of work, and I then realised that as a synesthete I was visualising what the end product looked like and he was thinking of the detail. So being aware of having synesthesia is teaching me to be less impatient with people, because our brains are wired differently.

    The human brain is fascinating πŸ™‚

    • by Sue Gage

    Hi,
    I have time-space synesthesia, as well as numerical and musical synesthesia. Time. numbers and notes are represented as ribbons in different shapes around me. Just discovered that not everyone visualizes this in the same manner. I also hear music, but I don’t know if that has any relationship to synesthesia. Occasionally I hear entire symphonies. Its interesting now that I know there is a name for this. It seems I am the only one in the family with this, unless others are holding back.

    • by Kenneth

    I thought this is what I had but I don’t see years. I see subsequent numbers, I’m able to visualize and break down mechanical things in my head and find the issues they have (if there is a problem) and so on. But mostly I see subsequent numbers.

    • by Mary

    Hello! I just figured out I have synesthesia–ticker tape and sound to color. They aren’t projected, they stay inside my head. However, I was wondering if I might have some kind of variation of this. I see time in two different, yet similar, ways. First, for long periods time (like the entire twentieth century), I see it like a timeline that is the length of my arm span, when both of my arms are held out to my sides. 1900 is on my left hand, 1999 is on my right. I can “zoom” in to more precise times if I want. I don’t actually *see* it projected outside my head, but I know where everything is. In terms of a calendar year, I see three-five months at a time. The current month is right in front of me, last month is to my left, next month is to my right. I can even rotate them around me to have a different sequence of three months in front of me. I’d love to hear some other people’s thoughts on this! Thank you, have a nice day! πŸ™‚

    • by reader

    Hello. I’ve only discovered I have synesthesia like 2 years ago – I have the Spatial Sequence one. I was intrigued when I first heard about synesthesia – a friend of mine told me about her favourite singer who sees colours with each tone.
    That’s how I gradually got to know the SSS kind. I was really shocked and I still can’t imagine how people can live without visualising time.
    My year has an elliptic or circular shape, it’s kind of hazy. I’m not positioned inside it but more like moving along the shape, depending which month it is. Also, it’s more horizontal than vertical, or maybe slightly downhill with Autumn and beginning of December at the lowest point (now that I think about it, it’s interesting that the lowest point is the beginning of December and not the end of the year). And it goes counter-clockwise. So for example right now in November I’m coming to the lowest point, with the end of the year clearly to my right, opposite me is March and summer months to my left.
    I’ve had this for as long as I remember.
    My week is based on the same movement along a smaller ellipse/circle, but seems more stationary – I don’t seem to see the shape turning, just me moving along it.
    I also visualise the numerical sequence in a kind of line: from zero to ten is up, ten to twenty is to the right and then up to a hundred, then again repeat πŸ™‚ As a kid I was the best in class till the age of 15, but then in high school I was just average and below average in math! I consider myself very bad at math. It might be I just hated my math teacher in high school (really strong dislike and math classes frustrated me immensely because I couldn’t keep up with the better students). But since I learned about synesthesia I’ve wondered if it has something to do with it as well – maybe because I always have to place the number on the line, it takes me longer to figure out the problem and that’s why I was bad at more complex math?
    As for my memory, as a kid it was very good. For example I remember we visited Rome with my family and because I loved travelling and was always taking everything in and living it to the fullest, I could remember for months afterwards every place we went to in order. But in the last few years my memory seems to deteriorate a lot – but that could be related to may other things, like stress, etc. So all that just to say that unfortunatelly I don’t have an exceptional memory πŸ™‚

    • by Chris

    Hi. I know I’m not quite ‘normal’ and I’ve always felt my brain works differently to most others, and it’s a big help to find so many people here with similar ways of picturing time especially. My pictures change depending on the length of time I’m thinking about, for example thinking of the last 100 years stretches back to my left, as does the last 25 years, but the last 5 years goes directly behind me, and and time passed in the current year comes in from the top right. Future months are directly to the left, but I can’t think of individual future years, only events that will occur in the future being somewhere down to the right. So there doesn’t appear to be much organisation! Numbers always stretch out to the top right, and zooming in and out is easy. Another thing is music, I’m aware that it’s common to be able to play back music in the mind so it sounds like I’m listening to a cd, but I also ‘see’ songs or pieces of music at the same time, it’s almost impossible to put into words how they look, it’s not particularly colourful or vibrant, I suppose it’s more to do with the time thing and picturing how the music is progressing. Anyway, hope this is of minor interest to someone in the world! Chris

  • My numerical spatial synesthesia prevented me from getting anything higher than a 3.5 in algebra and calculus because I can only figure out the answers in my head. My answers were always correct, but I “couldn’t show my work”. Teachers would make me take tests sitting directly in front of them because they thought I was cheating.
    I wonder if this is hereditary? My niece can only do math in her head too.

    • by Ruby

    Hi there. Ever since I can remember, I have had a circling image of colored words that spell out the days of the week and the same for the months. They are two separate images that appear in my head/mind’s eye when I, at any time, think of the date or what day it is or what month it is. For the months, I am outside of the circle and I am moving along with it depending on the month it is. For the week, I see the days ahead of me and there are two weeks connected forming an oval, one of the weeks (the week I am in) is super focused and bright and the one across from the focused one is hazy and blurred but once it is that week they rotate and switch, so that fuzzy one is now focused. I also see number, they are in a line and go up and continue into the distance. I am only 16 years old and I have always had these certain images in my head. I don’t understand how people cant see these things because how else do you keep up with the date and such?

    • by ElizzyBC

    How does it work for associators? Do they see the numbers in a specific way in their mind, or do they associate a specific place with a specific number? Is seeing numbers in a certain way in your mind a type of synesthesia?

    • by Amber

    Hi All —

    This is great – I never knew that how I looked at the days of the week, months of the year and even integers to 100 + were a strange thing.

    For the days of the week it looks like an oval out in front of me.. the months of the year form a circle, and for integers it is like a stairway that winds up and up. What is weird though, is that I can actually place myself in any location and look at the whole map from a different perspective.. It’s like I created these spaces that don’t exist so that I can remember where I am..

    I think when you are empathic (which I am), you tend to get sensory and emotional overload, so your brain finds ways to remember things that place you back in reality.. ? I am no neurologist, but the brain is quite an illusory thing. Certain smells or sounds will bring me back visually to very specific places.. And I will be inside these spaces as well as observing them simultaneously. Not sure if this is strange or not.

    I am also a musician and conceptual artist. When I write music I always have a visual accompaniment.. like I create a new environment that reflects the mood and emotion of the lyrics or melody..

    I would love to know more about what it all means.. I always thought everyone looked at certain things this way.

    • by Boo Long

    I’ve spent my life until reading this just now assuming everybody does it! Makes sense now of people wondering how I can remember dates of things from years ago. It’s handy for things like telephone numbers too.. I just remember pairs of digits as years of the 20th century and there they are on the visual timeline for recall (mine’s definitely a line, not cyclical). I did have day-colour synesthesia as a young kid but it wore off by about ten years old, though I can still remember and visualise all the colours. Interesting article anyway.. Cheers!

    • by Cynthia

    I found your site when I was trying to find the name of the Synethesia type I have for a friend.

    I see the months of the year on a circular wheel/path I stand on, it goes counter clock wise. Interestingly I also see months in colours.
    Days of the week are on a ladder with Monday at the top, Sunday at the bottom and I ALWAYS stand on Thursday, so I look up to Monday, and down to Sunday.
    Letters of the alphabets are on two tiled strips in front of me, one from A to N and the other from O to Z below the first strip.
    Calendar year numbers are on a path that goes up and down. If I turn left and look down it’s the past, if I turn right and look up it’s the future.

    Numbers are perceived on a ribbon that twist and twirl and on which I step. There is an archway and a step ever 10s and the numbers between 11 and 19 are in a dark tunnel, everything else is in a light tunnel. All the other things I perceive in space be it months, days of the week, letters or calendar years go from left to right. BUT I absolutely can’t see that ribbon of number going any other way but right to left. 1 is at the bottom right and I climb up the ribbon going left at all time. I am sure this is the reason why I always struggled with maths in school as a kid, or how as an adult, reading a phone number and remembering it is a massive challenge. When I read numbers on paper, they are in the logical left to right sequence, but my mind keeps trying to adjust to that as it pictures them going right to left, and yes numbers always make me tense, and on occasion I felt a tiny bit of anxiety trying to compute them

    • by Kate

    I’m not completely sure, but I think that I have SSS. For me, it is the days of the week that are easier to explain along with a timeline. In my mind, weekdays are like folders. Starting with Monday, flipping to Tuesday and so on. When I start to think of my days, they come up like this. They have no color, but when I look at it in my mind it’s like your looking at a row of folders in an accordion folder in front of you. For years, my timeline is black and white. My past is to me left and my future is to the right. I told my mom of the time when I was two that I was at the pool with my grandparents. I told what I wore what I did and what everyone else was doing and what they wore. My mom said that I couldn’t remember that because it was too long ago, but I did remember it. My months are harder to explain how I see them.

    • by Sarah Keller

    Since i was a kid, i often mentioned to my parents about knowing that each number and letter has a specific color. Each subject has a color, so my math binder was red, social studies blue, English yellow, etc. My mom always says, you’ve told me this, but I don’t know what you mean. In college, a friend and I discussed the spatial synesthesia that we both relate to. It was about this age I realized that not everyone thinks thos way. How do non synesthetes think?!?! I can’t imagine thinking differently, literally. I see the calendar year in front of me in a circle, I guess the best way to describe it is as if you were looking at a ferris wheel right in front of you, or a clock. It goes clockwise with January located at 7:00, so July is at noon, and December is at 5:00. For some reason there is a gap from December to January… My friend in college described her calendar as January starting at 9:00, and I argued that’s where March is! We also compared how we see days of the week, years, and decades. My years are clockwise as well. Hers were like a staircase. I’m very interested in this and was glad to have finally learned about it! I probably won’t get back on here, so if you want more details you can email me.

    • by Beth

    For me, dates or months that are closer to the present appear larger while dates or months linger ago are smaller. I can see them stretched out in a line in front of me. This was why I was so good at history in school and why I can always remember when things happened to me.

    • by Diane

    Having thought of synesthesia as color based, I only became aware that I had spatial sequence synesthesia recently when I mentioned to a friend that it takes me a long time to get from December to January. Since my months are structured on a line, I have to make a large semicircle to “travel” to the beginning of every year.

    Years are also horizontal but with corners at the beginnings of new centuries, and are read at the left for past and right for future.

    Weeks are seen horizontally and are read either to the left to to the right depending upon past, present or future. I can only use a Sunday to Saturday calendar, otherwise I get screwed up.

    Number positions can vary depending on whether a sequence is implied or not, but generally 0 floats by itself always below somewhere and negative numbers run vertically underneath it. Positive numbers 1-12 basically occupy a squashed clock form, then run horizontal left to right. Like centuries, there is a corner at 100, 1,000, 10,000 etc. I can approach the numbers from all directions and dimensions, and they can shift at will depending on why I am thinking about them.

    I do not visualize fractions or percentages, and perform those tasks uncomfortably. I aced abstract reasoning tests, particularly the “what is the shape when folded” sections. My greatest mathematical achievement was geometry until I reached a quandary when I couldn’t figure out how to understand triangles
    in 2-D anymore because they looked like they were laying down. My brain switched to vanishing points: this was the gift that one-point perspective gave me!

    I envy those with more explicit color references – my colors do not attach to objects unless I make it happen. I can, for example, change the colors of the walls in an enclosed space and “see” it. I am very sensitive to colors. When I was a child, I would not walk down the block where there was a turquoise and red house. At 3,
    I told my mother that the color of her bedroom was “wrong” while handing her the “right” crayon. Most times when I am strongly aware of a color, I break it down into pigments. So either I’m great at mixing colors because of this or I do this because I
    I’m great at mixing colors.

    When fully relaxed with my eyes closed, I get extraordinary color images which I can “watch” as they change. It’s hallucinatory for sure, but I like it and it has no conflict with my reality. Kind of wish it did.

    I long believed that everyone thought of things their own way and felt no need to talk about my visualization of time or numbers. But I would definitely aver that my mental skills in certain fields are below par because of SSS. It also has not helped my memory. While it’s the only way I know, there is too much rigidity in the locational systems and it definitely can slow things down.

    • by Tina

    Never knew there was a word for it! My calendar has Dec/Jan at the bottom and goes counterclockwise. My week has Saturday below Sunday on the left.

    As a child, this went into my OCD. If someone walked around me it screwed up my “bubble.” If they spun one direction, I would make them spin back… as if there is an invisible thread getting tangled up as you spin.

    How very cool that others have this too!

  • […] activity as they relate to specific synesthetic experiences, highlighting the synesthete’s spatial and color-oriented perceptions. Pretty interesting […]

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