Synesthesia Statistics

synesthesia statisticsHey there, ladies and gents! Welcome back! How’d that last synesthesia test go? This post will focus predominantly on synesthesia statistics, or the stats, percentages, and general facts that quantify the neurological condition. Let’s get goin’! First off, women and those who are predominantly left-handed make up the majority of the synethete population in the world. The female-to-male ratio is 3:1 (75%) in terms of the amount of synesthetes in the world. The condition itself is considered โ€œrareโ€ since only 1 in every 2000 people in the world have synesthesia. Another factor to consider is that considering that this condition is caused in the left-hemisphere of the brain, there is a drastic surplus of southpaws (left-handers) that have synesthetic experiences.

The Most Common Form

Statistically, the most common form of synesthesia is called color-graphemic synesthesia. With this particular condition, patients will notice that letters and numbers will be seen as different colors. There have been a total of over 60 different types of synesthesia in the world but there have only been a small amount of cases that have been thoroughly studied by medical professionals and scientists. With this particular condition, the intensity varies per patient and most of the time, patients arenโ€™t aware that their perceptions are irregular.

Genetic Statistics Available?

There have been studies to see whether synesthesia is a genetic disease but there has been no proof of inheritance thus far (although synesthesia does run throughout families). See the video below from Dr. Jamie Ward and Go Cognitive to learn more about the genetics. People will also experience synesthetic symptoms if they have a stroke, are under the influence of psychedelic drugs (such as LSD) or during seizures. If synesthesia arises outside of a family unit it is labeled as adventitious synesthesia. This particular type of synesthesia is known to affect only sound, vision, touch, or hearing.

Those who experience synesthesia may notice that they have a superior memory. As per scientific studies and synesthesia statistics, synesthetes were tested with the Wechsler Memory Scale and they were placed within the superior range of the scale. Another benefit to the memory is that spatial locations of particular objects is remembered. Although memory increases, math and logic are two areas that can suffer with synesthetes, due to the fact that the condition occurs within the left hemisphere of the brain.

Now That You Know . . .

For those of you who know a synesthete: Now that you’re familiar with some of the basic statistics of synesthesia, does it make you appreciate your friend/acquaintance/relative that much more? It’s pretty crazy to think that 1 out of every 2000 people walking the streets is a synesthete. For me, it brings to mind one question: How many of these people actually know that their perceptions are irregular – that they have synesthesia. Now THAT would be an interesting statistic! Once again, thanks for tuning in!

42 Comments on “Synesthesia Statistics”

    • by Amy

    Hello..I have experienced tasting symptoms related to words, colors, numbers, sounds and letters since I can remember. I am now 41 years old and I didn’t realize this was an unnatural ability until I was in my late 30’s. I also, did not want to discuss this with anyone, as I thought that I would be looked at as “crazy”.
    I had a very hard time learning as a child because I could not focus on words – either read by me silently, or read out loud by my classmates. It was so difficult as I could even “taste” their voices – and still do. I am glad that I am not the only one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • by Travis

    Awesome to hear, Amy! Congrats on being a synesthete and thanks for reading!

    • by bob

    i’ve just recently (at 21.3 years of age) realized that i have synesthesia. i’ve been officially diagnosed as having asperger’s syndrome, but the form of synesthesia i have has practically no research done on it. maybe you could direct me to some information? i experience music as having directions/movements/positions. this is the dominate form of what i experience, but i also “hear” some movements if i watch closely. i’ve found that synesthesia can go both ways, but it’s unusual and one side is more pronounced. any information that you can provide would be most appreciated, i enjoyed your statistics.

    • by Travis

    Hey Bob,

    Thanks for the comment! As you probably know at this point, there are many variations of synesthesia – not all of which have a defined name. However, what you’re describing definitely sounds like synesthesia. One thing that’s common between your experiences and those of many synesthetes is the idea of a physical location or position. If you’re looking for specifics, I’d check out the battery of tests on synesthete.org. That might better help you pinpoint exactly what you’re experiencing!

    • by Daniel

    I’m 15 years old and my sister and I have grapheme to color synesthesia. I found out about a month ago. Since my sister said she saw letters with colors too, I was absolutely sure that everybody did; but some people just didn’t take the time to notice it. Well, I guess they actually don’t! It’s funny because I remember specifically talking about it with her before I knew it was an actual condition. My dad also has said that he sees colors or shapes in the space around him when he listens to music (which is ALL the time). We are all right handed, but my grandfather (on my father’s side, seems like he may have had it, though I never got to meet him) was ambidextrous and artistically talented (unlike me, but I am a very good speller…unlike my sister. Strange how I can’t draw anything better than a 5 year old but my sister and father can. It’s interesting how the universe evens things out.)

    • by Travis

    Hey Daniel,

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s always great to hear from synesthetes, and from what you’ve shared, it seems like it runs in the family. This is actually pretty common. There have been some great studies that point to the genetic nature of synesthesia. Anyways, thanks again! Stop back!

    • by Chelsea

    I found out about synesthia a few years back while watching TV. I found it extremely interesting and wanted to learn more, so I decided to look into it last year and when I did, I found out that I have synesthia. I never would have guessed that I actually had something like this. I always knew that numbers, days of the week, months, colors, objects, and so on didn’t have personalities to other people, I simply thought it was a quirk of mine. I am so glad to find out that I’m not the only one.

    • by Travis

    Hey Chelsea,

    Thanks for the comment! It seems like your somewhat recent discovery of synesthesia is actually pretty common amongst synesthetes. Many are shocked when they find that these “quirks” are actually defined and present in others. Glad to hear of your experience!

    • by Sandra

    I am 41 years old and just today I discovered I have synesthesia! How crazy is that? I’m still trying to understand how is it that I am only one of few out there that would associate the names of days of the week with specific colors!?!?!? I’ve been doing it all my life, since I have memory. I am attending an Instructor Development Course all this week and one of the exercises included a 5-minute presentation on the subject of our choice. One of my classmates selected synesthesia and it was like she was describing me!!! Never felt like this before ๐Ÿ™‚
    Went to your website, took your little quiz and here I am!
    Even though I have an advance degree in chemistry and I’m very passionate about my job, I still have very strong inclinations to artistic endeavors like music and crafts; and everybody keeps telling me I have an incredibly good memory. I just though I was weird!

    • by Travis

    Wow, Sandra! Awesome to hear! It’s actually quite common, you know – for individuals to find out later in life about synesthesia. I’m glad that you found our site, and I encourage you to keep learning! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • by Marcia

    Hello!
    I’m 58 years old and realized today that I have synesthesia. I was reading a novel and it was described in the story line. I see linear sequence numbers as well as months, days of the week, years, alphabet, etc. I see it on my left side and these have a very distinct pattern. I was blown away. I have, over the years, described this to people but everyone thought I was crazy. Glad to hear that this is real.

    I signed up for the newsletter and look forward to getting more educated on the subject, thanks for being here.

    Marcia

    • by Travis

    Hey Marcia!

    Awesome to hear! We hear many stories similar to yours, and we’re happy to know that you’re looking to learn more about synesthesia. Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter! The next one will be coming your way on September 1st.

    • by Dani

    So interesting thinking about how many people don’t even know they have synesthesia! I had gone 19 years not knowing that everyone else doesn’t think so colorfully until one day in my philosophy class when my professor tried to proves something saying the number five was not blue, because that would be a category mistake. That led me to start questioning, because to me it was obvious the number five wasn’t blue; it was lime green. Since then i have been reading up on synesthesia in my free time. It is so interesting finally learning that not everyone thinks in this way.

    • by Travis

    Dani,

    You hit the nail on the head. Awareness isn’t so wide spread as one might think. Thanks for stopping by!

    • by Rita

    Me and my brother both have a lot of different types of synethesia. It’s weird though, because I’ve always been terrified or needles when he hasn’t. Whenever I get a shot, I can’t just try not to focus on the feeling of pain, because I also automatically imagine what the feeling of the shot LOOKS like, and what it tastes like, etc. It helps to look away from the shot, but I still see the feeling/shape of the feeling. This makes painful things more dramatic, which is a bad thing. I don’t know if it’s normal for people with this condition to have or not.

    • by Sam

    Hi, my name is Sam and I am thirteen years old. I recently found out that my colors and shapes I have been seeing since, well, forever is synesthesia! Up until about first grade I thought what I saw was normal, and didn’t speak about it. Eventually, I made a comment on how the letter y was my favorite color, and was called a freak. For years after that, I kept it to myself, fearing I was insane and would be a cast off. Finally, just last year my sixth grade librarian recommended a book to my class called “Mango shaped space”. It was about a girl around my age who had synesthesia, and had to go through some difficult times with it. I read it and realized she had EXACTLY what I had! I researched it (on here and many other websites) and was thrilled to find that I was in fact not a freak. I believe I have Graphemic-color synesthesia, but I also see shapes and colors when I hear sounds, like music or voices. Do you happen to know what kind this is? Thank you for the information, it really helped!

    • by Tish

    Hi, I have been aware since 2 years old that I saw colors relation to letters and numbers. It was such a defining moment when I learned that I have Synethesia. I also find that as I converse with people I see colors associated with their words. Also while seeing their words in color I also feel their words. The more intense the conversation the more intense the colors get and the more painful their words feel.

    • by Celia

    I’m a teenager and I was telling my friend about my symptoms, not realizing that they were part of a disorder, and he told me about synesthesia. I have the common letters and numbers have colors form. But then as I began to think about it more, I realized that I have multiple symptoms. I see time as a distance. For example, I think that 1980 is farther away than 1990. I also give days of the week “personalities”. I don’t know how to put it, they’re not personalities, it’s more of an aura, or a feeling I get when I think of the day, month, color, letter, or year. Even days, months, hours, and years have their own colors. I also see words flash in my head when ever I’m speaking to someone. I see their words and my words. I use this ability to write down notes very quickly with out looking at the paper because I already see what the word looks like.

    I’ve always been very good at music, almost gifted. I can hear a key and notes immediately. For example, if a piece of music sounds green, it’s most likely in the key of G because G is green. I also see light fluctuations when I listen to music. When ever the bass fluctuates, I see a certain area fluctuate along with a certain color. This happens with every “part” of music.

    I have many more symptoms but they would take forever to explain because words cannot describe what I physically see. I have not been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, or anything else like that. However, it appears that I have a very severe case of synesthesia because everything is associated with a physical perception.

    • by geeta

    Hi, thank you for sharing your experiences. I don’t see colors like most of you. But I remember numbers in the form of tunes not the actual digits itself. I always did well in memory tests and was appreciated for photographic memory. When I take notice of a number, I remember it like music, not music that is exactly like a perfect tune but a tune that is developed by my head breaking it into parts. I thought I was crazy but I noticed that this is how I remember numbers. And I dont concentrate hard. I just remember. If there is something wrong with the way it sounds, I would be able to tell that the number is wrong or a digit is wrong or misplaced, interchanged, etc. I would get an uncomfortable feeling. I am left handed. But no one else in my family has reported anything like this. Is this synaesthesia? I could not find anything related to my case. Please help me understand.

  • I’m not sure if what I experience is synesthesia, it has nothing to do with numbers or colors, rather it is the ability to feel others pain.if I see on tv or a real event some one getting hurt I literally feel the pain, usually in the same area as the person who experienced the pain.I cannot watch anything violent on tv, if I know it’s coming I have to close my eyes, my muscles tighten up until I think it’s over, mostly I change the channel.I can’t listen to news story where some one has been hurt. The other thing is emotional pain. If I see or hear some one crying or being emotional about their loss, or even seeing a fund raiser for some one in need, I have very painful emotional feelings, it starts with chest pressure muscles tightening lump in the throat all the way to point of sobbing, which is where it usually stops. Could this be a form of synesthesia

    • by Ashley

    Hello. I am 17 and I just realized last year that I was a syesthete..it was crazy to think that Wednesday isn’t bright Orange to everyone..I associate colors with days of the week, the months, numbers, letters, and most words. I also have synesthesia that makes my days of the week and months look like I’m walking in a circle. It’s my oen virtual little world that no one else understands. I remember when i found out that synesthesia wasn’t normal. I was in Chemistry class when I said something about august being a rosey pink but a darker pink than April. Everyone thought I was making it all up to be funny, and I realized that no one else saw what I see. Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ I love being a synesthete because I perceive the world in multiple ways!

    • by Tori

    Hi, I just relized that i have some forms of synesthesia, I think. Ever since I was little, I have been seeing numbers and letters (and occasionally days) in color. I’m not sure if it’s a memory thing, but I doubt it because I have a full alphabet (other than “o”) and almost every number up to 99 in color. A few of these are exceptionally strong, like 7, 4, 1, and 44. I figured this out when I was texting my friend, and I have a thing where I say random facts to her, and I decided to say, “the number 7 is purple.” She replied very confused and I told her a few more numbers, because I thought it was normal. So when me and my mom were driving, I asked her if she saw numbers, letters, days, and months in color. She was equally confused as my friend, so at night I got on the computer and searched, “seeing numbers in color,” and I saw that there was a name for it. I looked into it and found that there was a good 4% chance that I could have it. However, I am not left-handed or ambidextrous, so do you have to be either of those to have synesthesia? Also, i am not sure if I have mirror touch syndrome, because everyonce in a while, my best friend will be doing something, and she will get hurt, and I will feel a slight pinch wherever it happened. She doesn’t know about this because it would just get out in my school and I would get called more if a freak than I already was. If she’s sad, like when her cat ran away, my stomach will clench up and I feel some what sad. I’m not sure if it is because it has only happened a few times. Do you have any advice for me? I live in a small town and I don’t believe that anyone I know can help me with this, even though I have full trust in my teachers. Maybe I can use this to get out of music class somehow. Please help me.

  • Hey
    I’ve been experiencing tastes (and feelings/ sensations) with words and numbers since I can remember. Not every word has a taste & when I taste something I don’t think of a word. The tastes// feelings are very specific. Ex: February is ham to me, November is potatoes, March is burnt carrots. lol
    I know a lot of musicians have synesthesia && which type is most common for them? If there is one that is specific with music..
    Thanks

    • by Wynter

    Hi, I am 15 and I have realized today that I have synesthesia. I had heard about it before, but I had never realized that it varied in different ways. I thought it only to be that a person experience colours whenever they heard different sounds. However, today I found out that I had OLP (ordinal-linguistic personification synesthesia), meaning that I give different numbers, letters, weekdays, months, objects, and even colours a different gender and personality.

    I always thought this was a strange quirk of mine, and now I finally find out why my friend looked so confused in first grade when I tried to explain to her that the letter A was a girl that was red. Now I’m glad I have found out that I am not the only strange one here!

    I have photographic memory as well as a strong ability to memorize many things quickly. For example, I have memorized 200 digits of pi in 3 days, and it was not a difficult task for me. I am also talented in music as I play both piano and flute, and many of my talents appear to lie in the arts.

    Occasionally, I will see music or sounds appear to me in different shapes or colours, but this does not happen all the time. I am happy that i am a synesthete because I am different and unique in my own way ๐Ÿ™‚

    • by mary noble

    Hi there. I’m a bit confused as I’ve read that synesthesia is far more common than one in 2,000. (David Eagleman’s research suggests something more like one in 20 — closer to 5%.) I teach high school psychology; in every single class for the last several years, there have been at least two or three students (class size hovers around 50) identifying themselves as synesthetes, which would definitely support Dr. Eagleman’s research. Can you shed any light about that huge disparity? (I had as many as 7 in one class recognize themselves as having at least one form of synesthesia; while I realize they have not formally been tested, before even knowing very much about the condition they describe their experience(s), and what they describe definitely matches up.

    • by Devon

    Hi, my name is Devon. I am a 14 year old girl. I have known about synesthesia for a little while now. I read the book “A Mango Shaped Space” a few years back, and realized that the main character’s experiences were very similar to mine. For my eighth grade science fair project, I actually did a ton of research on synesthesia and I am quite knowledgable in this field. I am almost positive that I have Color-Graphemic synesthesia, because numbers, most letters, days of the week, months, and most other words have colors. I am not completely sure that I am actually synesthetic, however, because my colors do not float off the page like others’ descriptions. I can easily visualize what color a word might be in my head, but it does not appear in a physical form in front of me. It is hard to describe, but I also just “know” what a word/number’s color is. For example, I know that the number two is rosy pink, and the letter G is dark blue, but it doesn’t look that way on paper – I just know it is that way. To me, words also do not necessarily have a texture. The only word I can think of with a texture is “Monday” which is a faded red color that looks like a silky red fabric behind a thick layer of fog. Another “problem” I sort of have (which I don’t think is synesthesia) is when I talk to someone, words that sort of stand out to me will cause my fingers to twitch as though I were typing the word on a keyboard. This makes it hard to concentrate sometimes on what a person is saying because I am distracted by the word I am “typing” and I am sometimes scared that when I reply, I will say the word I am typing because I am still so intently focused on it! If you could please respond I would really like the closure to know whether or not I am actually synesthetic. Thanks so much!

  • Thnak you this really helped me

    • by Amy

    TO SUSIE (Who’s Above)
    What you have, your feelings others pain and emotions of a sort is a form of Synesthesia. I mean I’m very young to know this even though I’m not a Synesthete but I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve come across this form of Synesthesia.
    -Amy

    • by Ali

    Hey Devon! I’ve read A Mango Shaped Space too! It’s related to me. I don’t have a cat though. I do see colors in letters. Well some of them. When I see pain being inflicted or some type of touch I feel it. It just started and only sometimes. It’s not very strong and the pain isn’t bad or anything but it’s okay I guess. Well Anyway!
    I do think you (Devon) a synesthete because just like Amy (Above) I’ve done some research on Synesthesia and what you experience sounds like a form of it.

    • by John

    Hey! I just wanted to point out on your page that there may be a slight mistake; not ALL synesthetes have trouble with math and logic. I have always been great with math, and it’s partially because of my synesthesia. Numbers’ colors in my mind are based off of their factors and digits. For example, the number 111 is “milky white” because of its digits, but it also has a hint of green from its factor of 3 and tan from 37. People have always asked me how I’ve worked with numbers so fast, and I can’t explain it to them without sounding like an idiot. I can tell what a number’s factors are from its color; I have the unusual ability to stare at a number for 10 seconds and then determine if it is prime or composite (even up in the 1,000’s). Just wanted to let you know that synesthesia affects us all differently. I’ve been diagnosed with 6 or 7 different kinds of synesthesia now, and all my synesthesia’s done for me is help me!

  • Hi,
    I am Lillie. I have taken a fancy X-ray and I have synesthesia. I only hear colors though. Why? I am ten years old. Thank you!

    • by Charis

    I’m 17 and I remember talking about this with my sister when I was like 12. I have colors for letters, numbers, days of the weeks and months, and I have colors for music notes. Not specific colors for specific notes, but an idea of color based on the pitch and tone. I play the cello and the individual strings have their own color and the ways you play it affect the color. I almost have perfect pitch too. My cello teacher says that people with perfect pitch usually see colors in the pitches.

    • by Olivia

    Hi! I’m Olivia, I’m 16. I’m not quite sure yet if I have grapheme-color synesthesia, but I for sure have ordinal linguistic personification. It’s not technically synesthesia, but it’s related. It’s when you give numbers or letters personalities, like an innate feeling that that’s what those numbers/letters are. As a kid, I always thought this was incredibly normal, that this must be obvious and apparent to everyone. Then I told my mom, and she didn’t understand what I was talking about at all. She shrugged it off as a kid thing, and I didn’t mention it again. Recently I watched a YouTube video on synesthesia, and one of the synesthetes in it mentioned she gave her numbers personalities, which I connected to a lot!! This prompted me to do more research. I think I may have grapheme-color synesthesia. Shapes most definitely have colors to me. For example, my triangles are green. Numbers and letters seem to have inherent colors that make sense to me. O is white, U is lavender, C is green, H is brown, 3 and 7 are green, 9 is black, etc. Just wanted to share my experience! So interesting to hear all of yours!

    • by Minny

    I think I have synesthesia, too, and this site has been really helpful… also helpful to know that I’m not the only one out there like this. I’ve always thought I was the weird one, but I guess there are others like me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice to know I’m not insane. Now, does anyone see yellow on the colors black and white?

    • by Tammie

    I love my synesthesia. I have grapheme-color synesthesia, but I am a “projector”, which only about 10% of synesthetes that have grapheme color are. I just found that out a few days ago. I found out I had synesthesia a couple years ago and I love researching the different types and how other synesthete’s synesthesia differs from mine.
    About a year ago I would completely agree to the exceptional memory characteristic of synesthesia, but recently my anxiety has become horrific and I can barely remember what happened last week!
    Anyways, love this website!

    • by Adrian

    I am a sixteen year old synesthete and i recently found out I have three of the rarer forms of synesthesia. i have hyper empathy (I can feel others emotions and copy them), Mirror-touch (Feel what other people feel physically), and i can also taste personalities. i understand that there is relatively no info. on tasting personalities. i am mainly wondering if i am the only one who can taste them.

    • by Lauren

    Hey guys! I’m 14 years old and recently found out that I, too, have synesthesia! I seriously thought everyone else had this condition until just a few weeks ago in Choir class in 9th grade when my teacher was talking about it. I was so confused when he said it was extremely rare. I talked to him after class and asked him why he couldn’t see the colors and he started bombarding me with questions! I didn’t like the attention and basically ran away…it was great when I went home and researched everything though! I’m finally special! Woohoo!

    • by Celena

    I’m eighteen years old amd just recently found out that synesthesia is what I maybe experiencing! I’m not for sure though. When people talk, I hear their voices as a color or shape… e.g. My sister sounds like a blue/purple triangle, I don’t see the objects or colors outside of my mind though…does it count or am I crazy?

    • by Lili

    I am 12 years old and me and my BFF are obsessed w/ learning about synesthesia, since we both have it. It is a shame though that not everyone sees the world the same way we do.

    • by Bella

    Hi, I didn’t realize that something was different until I was in third grade. I always felt a little bit different to be honest. I’ve always been a pretty creative and artistic person I never got anything wrong on a spelling test but I moved down a keel in math. In third grade my friend was reading a book called a mango shaped space and I said oh yeah I have whatever she has isn’t that normal? She said no. So I told my mom an she said no way! Eventually she asked me a question about it and she said she would keep a log and test me every month to see if they were the same color and they were the same. Now I know and I’m trying to learn as much as I can to help myself get better in school.

  • […] always considered seeing sounds an amazing metaphor. But, apparently, 1 in 2000 people getย to actually see them, or taste colors or place time and dates in actual spaces. There’s this condition – […]

    • by Scarlett

    Is it possible to have more than one type?
    As I see both sequences of numbers in my head, and then associate them with objects. I also think that things like letters and such have definite personalities. I believe the letter P is very snotty, but is kind-hearted, but is afraid to show it.. She doesn’t have many friends, as all of the other letters are intimidated by her rude and uptight personality. Is this even possible? Or is this normal for everyone?

Hi, Stranger! Leave Your Comment...

Name (required)
Email (required)
Website