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Hella Synesthesia March 12, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Psychology.
Tags: , , , ,
3 comments

I am gonna try to make this post interesting, even though its not about linux or the watchmen. This post, actually, is about arithmetic…

No, it’ll be interesting, I promise. So, just a few days ago, I was trying to account for the money in my bank account by adding a few recent purchases in my head, when I realized that my arithmetic skills are lacking. The thing is, I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to be better at arithmetic, and so I began to research it.

Turns out, the human brain has a lot of computational potential. Just ask Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant who can list pi to 22,514 digits (and also learn the entire Icelandic language in just a week). He, unlike regular people, has a form of Synesthesia, meaning that his perception of numbers and letters is associated with the experience of colors. In otherwords, he sees numbers as shapes and colors (e.g. he sees Wedensday as blue). This is how he draws pi:

Tammet's perception of pi

Tammet's perception of pi

So, Synesthesia is not a common occurance in nature. But, after a conversation with my friends, I realized that many people do, in fact, associate colors with numbers. I soon realized, that, although I’m definately not a synesthesiac, I also associate numbers with colors. For me, 1 is yellow-white ish, two is green, three is yellow, four is brown, etc. I wondered if it would benefit my arithmatic if I would try to take advantage of this, so I made this game:

My Synesthesia Game

My Synesthesia Game

Ok. It’s pretty crude right now. It only has addition of one and two digit numbers. Also, the game is set in my colors, and you can’t change that. But, if anyone’s intrested in this expiriment I am conducting, you can find my current version of this game here. It only works in Windows :-(. (Also, press f4 to make it full-screen)

Also, I must say, people have started reading this blog. I had 120 views in one day a few days ago, my post has been replicated on another blog, and people are starting to have conversations in my comments section. Keep reading the blog, and don’t forget to add it to your bookmarks!