Home > links, news, video, writing > beautiful


December 1, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

November 23, 2006
For Rare Few, Taste Is in the Ear of the Beholder

To some ears, the following Thanksgiving menu sounds — and tastes — absolutely scrumptious:

For the big dinner on Thursday, perhaps a plump bird stuffed with Stephanie and served with giblet civil, accompanied by roast Londons, a bowl of performs with pearl unions, and marshmallow-topped microscopes. And, for dessert, city a la mode, followed by a confession.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. But if you were a lexical-gustatory synaesthete, your tongue might — and you would already feel full.

People who have synaesthesia — a rare condition that runs in families — have “joined senses.” They “see” letters or numbers or musical notes as colors — a capital A will be tinged red, or 5 plus 2 will equal blue, or B.B. King will play the yellows.

Rare as that is, there is an even rarer variation, said Julia Simner, a cognitive neuropsychologist and synaesthesia expert at the University of Edinburgh. Lexical-gustatories involuntarily “taste” words when they hear them, or even try to recall them, she wrote in a study, “Words on the Tip of the Tongue,” published in the issue of Nature dated Thursday. She has found only 10 such people in Europe and the United States.

Magnetic-resonance imaging indicates that they are not faking, she said. The correct words light up the taste regions of their brains. Also, when given a surprise test a year later, they taste the same foods on hearing the words again.

(Synaesthetes are hardly ever described as “suffering from” the syndrome, because their doubled perceptions excite envy in many of us mere sensual Muggles.)

It can be unpleasant, however. One subject, Dr. Simner said, hates driving, because the road signs flood his mouth with everything from pistachio ice cream to ear wax.

-via nytimes.com

I love words, always. But recently especially, I seem to almost taste them, this thick tangible fullness in my mouth upon reading certain words or phrases. I don’t know when I first felt this…I think it might have been while browsing the blogosphere and the many talented writers within. I wish I’d noted it then, to explain it better. It felt like seduction.

Categories: links, news, video, writing
  1. wordslut
    December 1, 2006 at 3:37 am

    I don’t taste words, normally. (I taste pain, though.) But I feel words. I sense them.

    And spelling is a big part of it. I have to know how a name is spelled so I can feel it. I once fell in love with a man when I saw how his name was spelled.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: