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Q:

OMG, I have a ridiculous number of questions!

  • Are the words for colours the same colour as the colour being named? (e.g. is the word "red" red?)
  • Are the colours of numbers mathematically related? (e.g. if "1" is red and "2" is yellow, is "3" orange? Or is "12" orange?)
  • Are words that are spelled similarly similar in colour? (e.g. "wall" and "wail"?) Are words that are spelled the same and pronounced differently the same colour? (e.g. "bow" in bow and arrow vs. "bow" in taking a bow a curtain call)
  • Do you speak any other languages? If so, does the colour reside in the meaning of the word or the combination of the letters?
  • Do letters have colour in languages that use different alphabets? If you have ever learned a language that has a different alphabet, has being able to read the different alphabet affected the colours of the letters?
A:

What was the reaction around the office once the news broke?


Q:

I'm happy that you have questions and am even more happy to answer! Wasn't sure how this AMA was going to go, so I'm glad it's eliciting responses.

1) For the most part, yes. Common colors are associated with their colors - red is red, magenta is magenta, gold is gold. I obviously don't know the true reason as to why this is, but if I were to speculate, I'd say that either a) it's because I learned my colors when I was a baby before I learned my numbers/alphabet, so I learned them as concepts before I learned them as words or b) everyone is generally conditioned to think of the color when the word is said (as you would, even though you aren't synesthetic) so it could be due to that as well. However, very uncommon, lesser known, or archaic colors don't have that same effect. For example, I saw the color 'vermillion' in a book and assumed it was a bright, golden yellow because I had never heard of it before and that's my association for it, but I learned later that it was a red and was very confused lol. Same with the color ecru - I ARGUED with my mom that it was navy blue, almost black, and didn't believe her when she said it was an off white until I looked it up myself. Needless to say my mind was blown because I had always thought ecru was blue because I never thought that I was making an assumption based on my association.

2) No, unfortunately aha. While that would be cool and useful, there's no mathematical component, at least for me anyway. Mine works kind of like your second guess - it's the combination of numbers/letters that form the unit's color, but it's not so formulaic as red+yellow=orange. Some letters/numbers are stronger than others, so they will have more of an effect. I gave some examples of this in some of my other responses!

3) Yes, to your first question. I responded to your other post with the Bryan vs Brian example which I think answers this question! But for your second question, no. Bow and bow are the same. Since my synesthesia is with the visual form of letters and numbers, different pronunciations have no effect.

4) I am conversationally fluent in spanish from learning in school and can write and speak much better than I can understand (but am pretty proficient). Meaning has no effect - the letters are what's important for me! So gato and cat are very different colors. However, a lot of English and Spanish words share roots, so in those cases there will be similar colors (perhaps just different tones) because there will be similar letters (ex: grand and grande). Words in Spanish tend to have weaker color associations though, and some words don't have color at all. Don't know why - because it's my second language maybe? Who knows.

5) I only know English and Spanish, so I can only understand Latin languages. Cyrillic and different Asian characters (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) don't have colors for me. I think it's because my mind sees them as symbols (similar to the way I would view punctuation) so they don't register as graphemes in my head and so don't have associations.

Hopefully I answered all your questions! Please let me know if you have any more. I am very happy to answer anything else you want to question me about and will still be online for at least another hour if not more!

A:

Most of my coworkers did not even know what net neutrality was. I was trying to educate everyone but I think I only reached a few people. There's a lot of internal propaganda about the subject which is the biggest reason why I left the company. We were literally asked to hand out fliers to customer with a little statement from Verizon with a header saying "Verizon supports a free internet" written at the top. That was the last straw for me.


Q:

That's so interesting! Thank you for putting up with my ridiculous number of questions!

A:

Has that internal propaganda been anonymously misplaced somewhere on the web for us to read?


Q:

Not a problem at all! I'm glad you find it interesting. If you have any more questions, let me know! I'll be on intermittently throughout the day and will respond when I see them.

A:

I honestly wouldn't know, but it got really bad internally. We were getting emails from the corporate office blatantly lying about Verizons stance on the subject. The attempted brainwashing was horrible.


Q:

Wow!!im glad you’re in a field where you can use the synesthesia as an advantage!!your parents sound great haha thanks for the insight!:)

A:

So what exactly, asking fir concrete examples, has Verizon done that is contradictory to their public statement supporting a free and open internet?


Q:

Yeah! This is actually a huge thing for me lol. Except it's not the subject that I'm associating with the color, like you may be doing, I'm associating it with the word itself. All of my binders and spiral notebooks need to be black or grey because I also have OCD, so it really messes with my head if the colors of my notebooks aren't the same exact colors as my associations. So that was my solution to the issue, aha.

For general subjects, my associations (as closely as I can put them into words) for the words are:

English: lime green, like the Crayola crayon.

Math: a slate blue with a little bit of sky blue.

History: the kind of brown leaves turn when they drop of the trees in the Fall.

Science: a golden yellowish-orange with some background of a swamp green.

Those are the subjects in general, but if we were to get more specific (ex: chemistry, physics, biology, etc. for science) they all wouldn't be the same color.

A:

I don't understand what you're asking.


Q:

I have not heard of that book! Is it good? Should I read it?

I have not seen a synesthete portrayed in a work of art before. How cool!

A:

Of course, i will clarify. Your claim is that you quit because you were asked to hand out flyers implying thay Verizon supported an open internet. My question, is this, what actions has Verizon taken as a company that are contradictory to the message they are promoting. Are they throttling connection speeds for certain websites, forcing tiered service onto customers, blocking wesbites, etc.

Right now, youre argument is based solely upon your feelings, and not based on factual evidence. You feel they are promoting false information, without providing supporting data. Basically, im saying you quit your only job to virtue signal for meaningleas online points.


Q:

It's a realistic fiction young adult novel - I actually read it in 6th or 7th grade (when I was 11-12 years old) but stupid me never made the connection that I was also experiencing what the protagonist was experiencing until much later - about a 13 year old girl with two types of synesthesia (I think). So it's a younger read, and is plot based rather than informational, but I don't know how old you are or what type of books you're into lol

A:

Verizon has been "testing" throttling for a few years now. About a year ago Verizon started throttling the Netflix app in certain markets. While I can't provide studies or data proof, most of my decision is based in my understanding that Verizon is trying to mask their stance against net neutrality with that statement. Verizon has been flirting with heavy throttling ever since the came out with their newer unlimited plan and I have zero doubts that we will see some sort of plan in the near future with fast lane access to certain websites.


Q:

I'm mid 30's but I'mma read it anyway! I have a book club with my nieces (10, 11 and 14) so maybe we'll all read it. :)

A:

Verizon has been "testing" throttling for a few years now. About a year ago Verizon started throttling the Netflix app in certain markets.

So if verizon was throttling websites while NN laws were active, why do we need said laws? Its clear that either the laws were inept or didnt do what yourself, and many other uninformed individuals, claimed.

Verizon has been flirting with heavy throttling ever since the came out with their newer unlimited plan and I have zero doubts that we will see some sort of plan in the near future with fast lane access to certain websites.

Again, this is an argument made based upon feelings, not data or evidence. Its more virtue signaling.

Im getting the sense that you have no idea what the "Net Neutrality" laws did in practice and were brainwashed by reddits pro-NN bullshit.


Q:

I haven't read it in several years, so hopefully it's actually a good read aha! I don't remember much about the book other than the basic plot.

A:

Regardless, my opinion was that Verizon was being misleading. I respect your desire for factually data but I simply don't have the means to provide it. I'd like to believe I'm well informed on the subject but if you say I'm wrong I'll have to do more research. Most of my decision was based on what I perceived to be happening and If I'm wrong and I quit for the wrong reason then I'll face the coming consequences. That being said the fliers were not the only reason I left the company.


Q:

Hello Miss Icebird, I wanted to ask, Have you ever tried learning music or sight reading? If yes, do those notes have color? If no, please try it :D

I know this is another kind of synesthesia, but i was wondering if they overlap depending on how the brain visualizes.

A:

Did you have another job lined up, or are you just completely lacking impulse control?


Q:

Hello! I used to play flute in middle school, but don't currently play an instrument. Musical notes haven't produced any associations for me personally!

A:

I have an interview coming up but nothing solid. I have a big chunk of savings lined up though so I can get by for a month or two.


Q:

Ah I see.

Can you re-associate different color with a certain character (for example, as you said 9 is burnt reddish-orange, now you forcibly re-associate 9 to be something like green or another color by practice)?

Also Bonus question, have you checked out the Stroop Effect? How confusing is it if at all?

A:

Now he's going to burn through his savings just coasting for a while instead of using it as a down payment for a house, or something equally important.

Like his weed supply.

Would not be surprised if OP was nothing more than a seasonal hire that is taking the opportunity to seem all big and important in his HEROIC STANCE AGAINST DA MAN!! SCREW BIG CORPORATIONS!

(Meanwhile he's posting from his iPhone while munching Cheetos and watching Netflix with Daddy's login.)


Q:

I've never tried to change one of my associations - all of the colors I've experienced with letters, numbers, words, etc. have always been the same colors for as long as I can remember. I'm sure that I probably could eventually learn to associate something different with a letter/number/word (just like any other learned associations would work), but I've never tried. As I mentioned in a different answer, words tend to look "wrong" or "off" if I see or try to imagine them in a color besides the one I've always associated with it, so it probably would be very difficult!

As for the Stroop Effect, I don't think it's any more/less difficult for me to do than for someone without synesthesia, but that's just my personal experience. I can't speak for anyone else!

A:

I appreciate the concern, but I am confident everything will turn out alright. My partner is still pulling in an income and I have a good support network in my family.


Q:

Does it work with characters you don’t understand? Like Cyrillic (Russian) writing?

What about letters like À Ä Å Ā, are those different colors than each other? Do they share a hue because they are all A?

A:

Were there any internal communication or some selling points if you should convince people it wasn’t a bad idea?


Q:

No, anything other than Latin languages don't produce any colors for me. I mentioned in another comment that I am proficient in Spanish as well, and see weaker color associations generally than I would in English. Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese, etc. - anything with non-Latin characters - register in my head more like symbols (like punctuation would) so I don't have any associations with them! I don't know what would happen if I learned Russian (or any non Latin language) though! If I understood it maybe I would develop associations there too, but I couldn't say for sure.

I don't personally have any color associations with accents, so all of those look the same to me! They are a similar color to how I described the number 9 in a different comment.

A:

We were told to either keep our opinions to ourselves or hand out a flier that said "Verizon Wireless supports a free internet" with a very carefully worded blip about how net neutrality was stifling the Internet. I refused to hand it out which is part of why I quit.


Q:

Not op, but am a fellow synesthete.

Blue-yellow-green-orange

Brown-white-brown

Purple!

Translucent white

I know you were probably fishing for controversy or something, but it doesn't work like that. I hope you will appreciate an honest answer.

If you want to get (kinda?) political, Trump has become a weird one for me. The word itself is clearly blue-green-yellow-dark brown-purple, which still holds true when I read/think it in the context of a card game (where it is outlined in black because strategy), but when I think of the man, it is now just blurred together in a kind of gilded sickly orange. I have not had this happen to a word before that I can think of.

A:

For those wondering, this is a low level position. Typically making ~$14/hr per google search, which is probably generous.


Q:

It's interesting to me that you describe the color of the words in terms of each individual letter (at least that's what it seems like you're doing to me, correct me if I'm wrong). For me, a word is all one solid color, likely affected by the letters within it, but I don't see each letter as being individually colored within the word.

A:

I made significantly more than that. Most people will build a career with that job. Hourly was alright but we also made commission.


Q:

That's what I'm doing. Mostly because it is easier to describe in writing that way without writing a novel. Complete words have sort of an overarching color, but it gets a lot more squidgy than the definite colors of letters, if that makes any sense.

Numbers have their own colors.

A:

What would you say is some of the worst parts of working within a position where you have to deal with people's issues regarding products, plans, etc?


Q:

Ah, I see. Yeah, it's difficult to describe a color in words without writing an extremely specific description. I've tried to describe my synesthesia to my parents and I'm usually met with a "???" response lol. It's totally hard to imagine if you aren't experiencing it yourself.

A:

The sheer unwillingness most people have to solve their own problems. Most phones issues can be solved by turning off all apps in the background and doing a soft reset on the device. About 3/4 of the customers coming into a Verizon store can save themselves a drive and the hassle of having a sales rep try and sell them something if they just spent at least a fraction of their time and energy into learning how to do minor troubleshooting on the device the carry with them 24/7. I understand not being able to figure out plans and service issues but people with actual service issues made up a fraction of the customer base coming in to the store everyday.


Q:

I know you were probably fishing for controversy or something,

I'm not sure what kind of controversy could be had based on the subjective color associations of "bush did nine eleven". Also no, didn't want to get political or talk about modern politics. Just wanted to hear what colors she saw. Thanks for your input too I guess happy holiday.

A:

Do you think that quitting your job actually made an impact? Do you also think the Earth is flat?


Q:

Didn't answer originally because I thought you were being facetious, but I'll answer with my associations too.

Bush: straight up gunmetal grey.

Did: a blend of a rust red and a dark salmon color. Kind of gross looking imo.

Nine/9: a slightly redder version of burnt orange.

Eleven/11: a darker, more gold canary yellow.

A:

In the ocean that is Verizon it made no impact but it certainly made an impact on my personal statement. Working for a corrupt company makes you feel pretty gross everyday.


Q:

Interesting. I'm especially surprised that 9/nine register the same, that it isn't JUST the visual appearance itself that determines hue. Do some words look 'right' if someone colors them the color you associate them with?

A:

Yeah, I don't know how it is for everyone, but for me, the phonetic spelling and the numeral itself both have the same color!

As for looking 'right', sort of. No one ever colors anything in the EXACT color I see it (obviously, that would be pretty difficult considering I'm the only one that sees it), but it does like 'good' and 'proper' if someone at least comes close. However, words definitely look 'wrong' if someone writes them in a completely, not even remotely related color. For example, in my physics class last year, my teacher wrote the word 'positive' in green and 'negative' in red on the smartboard in an attempt to color code for mnemonic purposes for notes, but it drove me absolutely bonkers because 'positive' is a shade of red in my mind and 'negative' is a shade of blue (not describing both in detail for convenience), so it looked extremely wrong. It made me almost uncomfortable in the way that you would feel uncomfortable if everything in your house was all moved 5 inches to the left. Like something is "off", for lack of a better word.