• Question: hello I am a French teacher. sorry for my bad English. I wonder if you already meet pupils who consider numbers as colors or genders.

    Asked by dubocs to Lucy, Daniel, Michael on 15 Apr 2015.
    • Photo: Lucy Cragg

      Lucy Cragg answered on 15 Apr 2015:

      In our research into the skills underlying maths we’ve seen hundreds of students and as far as I’m aware none of them have strong associations between numbers and other areas of cognition like colours or genders. We have never asked about this specifically though.

    • Photo: Daniel Ansari

      Daniel Ansari answered on 15 Apr 2015:

      Some students may indeed experience colours when they look at numbers. This is known as Synesthesia or, more specifically, grapheme-color synesthesia.

      Here is a video of a grapheme-color synesthete talking about her experience of the association between numbers and colors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNy23tJMTzQ

      There exists a large research base on Synesthesia. For an excellent overview you might want take a look at this recent handbook on the subject: