Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is February Purple?

I've written before about my impressions 
that certain months are specific colors. 
For example, I've mentioned that I see
September as a deep ultramarine or sapphire blue
October is red to orange.
November has always been brown to gray
December a deep forest green.
January is ice blue
and February is most definitely a deep dark purple.
Curiously, other months have no color association for me
 that readily comes to mind.
Even more unusual when I realized 
that the months I associate with color
are the fall and winter months, which are my least favorites 
because they bring cold weather and low light.

photo courtesy of

I've always thought of those associations as a result of my imagination,
but I recently read an article by Darya Zabelina in Psychology Today
called "Finding Butterfly: Are You a Synesthete?" 
first published online April 24, 2011.
Zabelina says that 20-25% of all artists may have a type of synesthesia,
a neurological condition that causes a link
between certain visual and aural perceptions
and numbers, days of the week or months, etc.
For example, Zabelina says that to about 4% of the population, 5 is red.
For some, when they see blue
they also hear a particular sound like a C sharp.

photo courtesy of

Apparently there are two genes responsible for these associations.
One gene is responsible for perceptual synesthesis
which is the one that causes someone to hear a sound when they see blue
or red when they see 5.

I had heard of synesthesia before, 
but I didn't know there were two types.
The second type is called conceptual synesthesis.
This is the one that causes people to associate two concepts
 like color and days of the week, for example.
I'm not sure of the differences between the two types 
because they seem about the same to me.
Maybe one is more physical, the other more an association.

photo courtesy of

Regardless of the differences, they do share one similarity:
they are beyond the synesthete's conscious control.
Even though the perceptions and associations that synesthetes have are involuntary,
I haven't read any accounts so far
 that indicate they are also a handicap or a burden.
To me, seeing red 5s or yellow 7
would create a beautiful rainbow kind of world to walk around in,
where even the letters and numbers are vivid and colorful.
I Googled "Wednesday" and "6" to see 
what synesthetic perceptions have been reported for them.
Here are synesthetic color associations for Wednesday February 6:
Wednesday Indigo Blue 
February Purple
6 Green

It's a very colorful day.

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