Psychology Today spoke to a Houston teenager with synesthesia, the sensory condition whose name means "to perceive together." Some synesthetes taste colors or feel music; this teen's condition fits the "mirror-touch" variety of synesthesia, which involves experiencing the sensations felt by other entities. In most cases, those entities are people, but she feels the experiences of machines.
She describes the experience of physically being in a machine like sitting in a car or on a boat:
Then, I am the machine, in a traditional mirror-touch experience. I feel accelerating as a shift of balance (the more rapid the acceleration, the more severe the shift) in my lower body/feet, as if I am standing and leaning forward, about to fall. When the car begins to brake, I feel as if my arms are extended in front of me, and my hands and wrist and flexing up.
And riding escalators! It's like an internal roller coaster:
When on an escalator, I feel the movement of the steps on the conveyor as if they're the notches up my spine, and the arm rest as the skin at the top of my upper arm and shoulder. Clocks are so delicate and minute in their design and visible movement I barely feel them tickle the hair on my arms.
Robots that have the typical rectangular drive train feel like cars, just smaller. Ironically, robots that have been designed to look like/mimic human bodies are stranger to connect to, because their similarity to my already-existing limbs is confusing.
Synthesia researchers have wondered how the condition would evolve in conjunction with technology. One such scientist, Dr. Anton Sidoroff-Dorso, told Psychology Today that if this teen's experience can be verified, he "will rank it most revealing about human nature"!
Shop: The Cut's Best Bets
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?
From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
The World’s Easiest Way to Highlight Your Face
A Pregnant Supermodel Explains What She Eats
Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram
Sleater-Kinney on Riot Grrl, Reuniting, and Portlandia
Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
Guess Who Renovated This Grand Upper West Side Penthouse
From Our Partners
Is This $15 Glossy Stain Even Better Than YSL's? (Yes!)
Clever nightstand alternatives (for small-spaces!)
The Eye Makeup Tip That Will Put Plastic Surgeons Out of Business
Tinder is Trash
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War Features8 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week
Baby sea turtles wearing bathing suits and a necklace for your pizza.Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
Take that, sportscasters.A Comprehensive Taxonomy of Men With Long Hair
And why we like them anyway.Teens Are Dying From Train-Track Photo Shoots
The popular photo destination is actually super-dangerous.‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
Ed Houben has fathered 106 children — that he knows of.The Internet of Parents Is Miserable and I Love It
Why it's so hard to look away.Did the ‘Maxipad Bandit’ Really Think He’d Escape?
Not so fast, mister.Woman Driven From Her Home by Death Threats After Starting Pro-Choice Hashtag
The hashtag drew intense scorn from anti-abortion activists.Ice-Cold Teens Don’t Hesitate to Block Their Exes
"I’m just like this is irrelevant now.”Let Sorority Girls Instagram Themselves in Peace
Come on, man.
Whether you're Lena Dunham or an emerging writer, the format has an appealing intimacy.The Bennifer Years Affected Matt Damon More Than Anyone Else
It's just really hard when your buddy breaks up with J.Lo, you know?Someone Used Gasoline to Set a Los Angeles–Area Planned Parenthood on Fire
Police believe gasoline was used as an accelerant to burn down the Thousand Oaks facility.Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
"Compete with the boys. Beat the boys."Stop Time-Traveling to Such Lame Eras, Losers
You have a choice, people.New ‘Yelp for People’ Will Let You Rate Everyone You Know
Kind of like Lulu, or Hot or Not, or ...Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Glad She Was Trained in the ’60s
She's glad she was trained in the Mad Men era.Lena Dunham Apologizes for Joking About Abuse
"When I heard my own quote I was like, 'Jesus, Lena, no.'"Desperate Republicans Attack Planned Parenthood Chief’s Salary
"The disrespect, the misogyny rampant here today tells us what is really going on."Blake Lively’s Lifestyle Is No Longer for Sale
She will Goop no more.