Friday, December 23, 2016

What does blue taste like?

Taria Camerino is a gastoral  synesthete. She experiences all five senses as taste.

If she looks at something blue, she can describe the taste of that shade--the blue oceans on a world map, she says, have a metallic taste like car keys.

No one knows how many people are synesthetes--maybe one in 5,000 has some trace of this sort of crossed wiring in the brain. For some, it means seeing a color when you hear a sound.

But Taria has deficits, too. She has no auditory or visual memory--an hour after seeing a movie, she can't remember if she saw it.

If she tries to talk about the taste of say, the 1812 Overture, she says it starts with a vibration in her chest  and spreads to the top of her head. Taste has a vibration, like sound, she thinks.

Her talent has made her a world-class chef.

Flavor perception is complicated. There are three receptors for vision--red, blue, green--but more than 1,000 for odors.

She can taste feelings--fear tastes like blood and metal, she says. Also ideas--the election was bitter but with a chemical taste like hairspray.

She plans to use her talents to explore the usually negative role taste plays in cancer treatment.

Interesting, huh?

No comments: