|Quoting Diamond (Thread starter):|
Though I consider myself to be good with numbers, the way I visualize them is almost impossible to describe. It's considerably more "3D" than the example shown above.
You're a synesthete? How cool! So am I.
For me it's sight and sound. If I see a light blinking on and off, even if it's soundless, I will "hear" a clicking with each blink. Now, I don't actually hear the click, but there's a click.
Similarly, different sounds have an associated shape, color, and visual texture. High notes on the piano are shiny blue. Bass notes are browns, ambers, yellows, and usually fuzzy. This is probably the reason that the music I listen to tends not to have words (at least not in English). I focus on the look of the music, so words are a distraction. Besides, a heavy-metal guitar riff looks like a quivering mound of colorful vomit. If you like that stuff, more power to ya, but it makes me nauseated.
I am a synesthete. And I find that somewhat surprising because I'm a right-handed, un-artistic, man. I do have ADHD, which seems to be associated with synesthesia, though.
So what is synesthesia? Well, my theory is that it is a developmental abnormality. Normally, a portion of the cerebral cortex is responsible for processing different senses. The rear of the brain is the visual cortex. The underside of the brain is the olfactory (smell) cortex. There's also some portion associated with hearing and touch (touch is on each side, in the parietal lobe).
Areas of cortex all over the brain are connected to each-other by white matter. As the brain grows and matures, these connections are trimmed and pruned so that the connections that remain are the useful ones that move useful information. My theory is that synesthesia is caused by the persistence of some of these primitive connections.
I have no data on which to base this hypothesis; it's just an educated guess. However, synesthesia is not a medical diagnosis because it is not a disease and it causes no distress or disability. Thus, there is no treatment.