I’ve been re-reading versions of this story all day long, I’m so fascinated by it, about people who can taste words. Synesthesia has always been dreamily romantic to me, but this form of it, “lexical-gustatory” synesthesia, seems particularly ripe for erotic fantasy (especially for a writer like me). Plus it’s perfect reading for food holiday nerdiness and table conversation. Um, you probably just can’t tell Uncle Ted where you found it… Here’s the MSNBC article Even unspoken words can have a ‘taste’: Synesthesia study sheds light on the inner workings of perception. Snip:
“…[But] for a few rare individuals, the demarcation between vision and hearing, or between taste and touch, are less solid, with one bleeding into the other.
These people have a condition called ‘synesthesia,’ in which two or more of the senses are crossed. Some see colors when listening to music, while others associate tastes with shapes or words with colors. A very small number of synesthetes can ‘taste’ words.
A new study finds that individuals with this last form of synesthesia – called ‘lexical-gustatory’ synesthesia ‘ can taste a word before they ever speak it, and that the word’s meaning, not its sound or spelling, is what triggers this taste sensation. The finding, detailed in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, could help scientists unravel how perception works in the rest of us.” Link. Also, here’s a good Scientific American article on it, slightly marred by annoying ads, which my Firefox tells me taste like dried Astroglide. Okay, back to writing about coed nude yoga classes… (image from the cupcake incident)