Some people know what music tastes like

In the world, about one in twenty people experience a particular neurological condition in which strange connections are made between the senses: synesthesia.

Since ancient times, music has been one of the greatest expressions of human feeling - and not only, at least judging by the "melody" that comes from Venus. Notes can and know how to reach the heart passing through our ears, which actually transmit to the brain flickering impulses to be transformed into emotions. Yet there are those who, with music, are able to "sweeten" their senses, stimulating not the auditory system but the taste one.

In fact, in the world, about one person out of twenty experiences a neurological condition known by scholars as synesthesia. A very particular condition, in which strange - and sometimes unexplainable - connections are created between all or some of our senses. In short, these are individuals for whom words can take on a certain color, or that in even rarer cases swear to perceive a distinct flavor or even a particular texture when listening to music.

The origin of synesthesia is still a matter of debate, but some hypotheses are more credible than others. It is generally believed that as children our brain cells have millions of connections, which as we grow up are gradually eliminated: according to some studies, people who have been diagnosed with synesthesia undergo genetic changes that prevent this disconnection occurs in certain areas of the brain, keeping "alive" the connections between sensory areas. These, consequently, respond in an unusual way.

Although the theory seems well-founded, there are still doubts. The study does not explain why some psychoactive drugs have the ability to stimulate synaesthetic experiences in humans, while others - and here we make explicit reference to antidepressants - have the ability to inhibit them. After conducting some tests on people with synesthesia, it was discovered that there is a specific involvement of brain areas with higher functionality used in language and attention, and not only in those related to sensory processing. Hence, it could explain the neurological phenomenon, which indicates a "contamination" of the senses in perception.

Although synesthesia is still a little known condition, it has been possible to classify it into various types, based on the effects that each subject experiences. In addition to "tasting" music, there are cases where tactile perceptions can evoke strong emotions, while in tactile-specular synesthesia seeing others suffer can make one feel pain firsthand, almost as if it were a distinct empathy.

Observations have also proven how people with synesthesia are more likely to engage in creative hobbies or professions, such as painting or poetry. Famous synesthetes include, not surprisingly, artists such as Van Gogh and Kandinsky, musicians such as Duke Ellington and Billy Joel, and actors of the caliber of Geoffrey Rush.

Andrea Guerriero