Posted in biology, chemistry, food

Hearing shapes and tasting sounds

From BBC News:

“We are all capable of “hearing” shapes and sizes and perhaps even “tasting” sounds, according to researchers.

This blending of sensory experiences, or synaesthesia, they say, influences our perception and helps us make sense of a jumble of simultaneous sensations.

Oxford University scientists found that people associate lower-pitched sounds with larger and more rounded shapes. One of the team is now working with chef Heston Blumenthal to incorporate words into a new dining experience.

Synaesthesia itself is a rare and unusual condition thought to affect less than 1% of the population. It can takes many different forms – some people may “see sounds”, in that certain sounds trigger them to see particular colours. Others might experience colours while reading those words in simple black text.

But according to Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, we are all “synaesthetes” up to a point.

Read the full article at BBC News.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.