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The man who could taste words


Arkan

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James Wannerton (right), an IT contractor from Blackpool, has synaesthesia, a condition which means two senses are stimulated at once. For James, 49, hearing or seeing words stimulates his sense of taste.

 

He says: 'When I hear a word, I actually taste it. Some words taste really nice and some really unpleasant. It's something I can't switch it off. I even dream with the sense of taste strong in my mouth.

 

'It can be quite distracting, like having ringing in your ears. I've always had it - one of my earliest memories is saying The Lord's Prayer during assemblies when I was four or five and getting loads of different tastes, such as bacon, entering my mouth.

 

'When I was younger, I would pick my friends on the basis of the way their names tasted.

 

'For example. I would like people called Robert because the name tasted like strawberry jam sandwiches, whereas the name Gordon made me taste dirt.

'Until my teens, I presumed everyone was the same as me. It was only when I started opening up to girlfriends that I realised I was a bit different.

 

'In my late teens, my mum admitted she had a far less invasive version than mine. However, she seemed to be really embarrassed talking about it, so I just dropped the subject and I presumed it was just a family trait.

 

'It wasn't until the mid-Nineties while holidaying in America, that I saw a TV documentary about people like me realised I had a medical condition.

 

'I then found out about some into synaesthesia at the Maudsley Hospital in London and contacted them ten years ago.

 

'A brain scan showed that the area processing taste lit up not only when I ate something, as it does for everyone, but also unusually, when I heard words and word sounds.

 

'When I was at university I found it quite hard to concentrate as the words of lecturers would flood my mouth with flavours.

 

'That's why I choose to work in information technology, a quiet profession which does not require me to talk or interact much with other people.

 

'This condition has also affected the types of women I go out with.

 

'Whereas Barbara or Helen are nice juicy flavours to me, a friend married a women whose name, Colleen, makes me nauseous. I find it hard to say or hear her name as a result.

 

'Food names don't necessarily bring the taste of the food. For example, the word oyster triggers the taste of chocolate.

 

'I have actually stopped eating out with other people because their conversation creates so many different tastes in my mouth that it ruins my enjoyment of the food.

 

'Sometimes my synaesthesia has proved useful - at school it helped me memorise things because I could remember flavours.

 

'A good example would be the kings and queens of England which were a list of tastes.

 

'I wouldn't want to be without synaesthesia, but I would like to be without it briefly, so I could understand what other people's lives are like. I imagine it wouldn't be as interesting.'

 

 

 

Link with other stories of rewired brains

 

 

 

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"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

 

- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

 

"I have also been slowly coming to the realisation that knowledge and happiness are not necessarily coincident, and quite often mutually exclusive" - meta

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I never thought I'd hear about a symptom from the TV show House anywhere else (well the weird symptoms anyway)

 

In the first episode of last season he had an astronaut with synesthesia of being able to hear with her eyes.

Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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I never thought I'd hear about a symptom from the TV show House anywhere else (well the weird symptoms anyway)

 

In the first episode of last season he had an astronaut with synesthesia of being able to hear with her eyes.

 

She would have been fun at a Pink Floyd concert.

"Your Job is not to die for your country, but set a man on fire, and take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

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Synaesthesia is common. Most people have it in some form or another (most people would say that a K sound is jagged and an O sound is round, despite sounds not having shape in actuality), but a few experience it more vividly than others. I've known several people personally who do. It's generally much more complex than "seeing sounds" or "tasting shapes". One of my friends feels time as an irregular shape, with a certain time of day at a certain day of the week at a certain spot on the loop, as well as each day having a color and a name. My first name is dark green to her, my full name powder blue. Some people feel numbers as a zig-zagging line rather than a sequential set of variables. A synaesthate with that particular condition can memorize several million digits of pi just by virtue of the way his brain handles numbers.

Edited by Pop
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I wonder if words taste the same to all Synaesthesiacs or if its individual. It would be cool if someone compiled a dictionary of wordtastes

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Amazing what the brain is able to do...

 

She would have been fun at a Pink Floyd concert.

 

Funny you should say that, I actually had a really wierd experience at a Roger Waters concert. I started feeling a physical reaction to the sounds, like the different tunes were pushing me and depending on the instrument they would come at different speed too.. It was a really surreal experience..

Fortune favors the bald.

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Amazing what the brain is able to do...

 

She would have been fun at a Pink Floyd concert.

 

Funny you should say that, I actually had a really wierd experience at a Roger Waters concert. I started feeling a physical reaction to the sounds, like the different tunes were pushing me and depending on the instrument they would come at different speed too.. It was a really surreal experience..

You really need to lay off those mushrooms Rosbjerg :)

 

I wonder if Gorth is a yummy word :)

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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He can't go out with friends and his buddy's wife makes him wanna vomit, yet he doesn't want to live without it?

 

Some severely handicapped people don't want to be "normal" either.. My guess it has something to do with comfort and identity, he knows the condition, in fact he can't imagine being without it and if he did lose it I imagine he would feel like a big part of his personlity was missing.

Fortune favors the bald.

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Synaesthesia is common. Most people have it in some form or another (most people would say that a K sound is jagged and an O sound is round, despite sounds not having shape in actuality), but a few experience it more vividly than others. I've known several people personally who do. It's generally much more complex than "seeing sounds" or "tasting shapes". One of my friends feels time as an irregular shape, with a certain time of day at a certain day of the week at a certain spot on the loop, as well as each day having a color and a name. My first name is dark green to her, my full name powder blue. Some people feel numbers as a zig-zagging line rather than a sequential set of variables. A synaesthate with that particular condition can memorize several million digits of pi just by virtue of the way his brain handles numbers.

 

He can't go out with friends and his buddy's wife makes him wanna vomit, yet he doesn't want to live without it?

 

Some severely handicapped people don't want to be "normal" either.. My guess it has something to do with comfort and identity, he knows the condition, in fact he can't imagine being without it and if he did lose it I imagine he would feel like a big part of his personlity was missing.

I have a girl-friend from high school that I still talk to on occasion that has this 'ability'. Hers is that she 'sees' sound as colours. In her case, it's called "perfect pitch". She used to 'tune' band members better that the instructor could and he accepted it as it was. At one time she even used 'Synaesthesia' as her screen-name. I caught her one time because of her posting style on a board that I was on. She had never regretted having the ability but, in her case, it never really had the same impact that taste would have. The next time I talk to her, I'll ask what she thinks of this particular 'affliction'. I can't imagine that 'tasting' a person's name or words would be appealing.

Politics, Bush, Obama. ( you get the drill ):x

Ruminations...

 

When a man has no Future, the Present passes too quickly to be assimilated and only the static Past has value.

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Remember that math whiz who could recite phi to the umpteenth digit, or was that a movie.

 

In any case the reason it was so easy for him is that he saw numbers as having distinctive shapes, colours and even textures, to him he was merely describing a strange landscape.

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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He can't go out with friends and his buddy's wife makes him wanna vomit, yet he doesn't want to live without it?

 

Some severely handicapped people don't want to be "normal" either.. My guess it has something to do with comfort and identity, he knows the condition, in fact he can't imagine being without it and if he did lose it I imagine he would feel like a big part of his personlity was missing.

Much as I hate to admit it, I been doing a great deal of thinking about this very thing since Krezack's thread concerning ADHD. Having realized that I'm about as F'ed up as a football bat, I still am unwilling to give up the few 'perks' that come along will being ADHD. That being the ability to hyper-focus. Much of what I blurt out at work would be a firing offence in most places but with my work ( I work heavily with machinery ), I can get away with it. Since they have known me for over 20 years and know my abilities, they generally ignore my little 'quirks' and just pray that I don't limber up my vocabulary where it might get them into trouble. They now know that I am ADHD since they are used to me, it doesn't really make any difference in that they know better than to put me in a position that might bring me into the public eye. Since I am more likely to blurt out something like "Lick me where I S**t" than not, the company does not put me on speaker-phone because it isn't really safe. :wink:

 

They found this out when a customer lied about something and called in about it..."He's a MF'en Liar!! I never said a GD thing about that! He's a rotten MF'en liar and I hope his MF'en b**ls fall off for being a F**ken liar" et cet, you get the drift. The dispatcher had the customer on speaker-phone when she called me on the radio.

 

Oops :x

 

Impulse control can be a bitch at times. :wink:

Ruminations...

 

When a man has no Future, the Present passes too quickly to be assimilated and only the static Past has value.

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If I could taste words I would probably avoid the forums.

 

:x:lol:

 

I can see him sitting down in front of the television witha bib on, when Steven Fry appears.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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