Copyright

What is Spacial Sequence Synesthesia?

Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

Spacial-sequence synesthesia (SSS) is a phenomenon where you automatically assign spatial locations to the members of ordinal lists, such as the months of the year or the letters of the alphabet. This lesson will discuss the definition and causes of SSS, as well as the reported effects of this phenomenon.

What is Spacial-Sequence Synesthesia?

If I were to ask you where six o'clock is in the air around you, you would probably give me a rather odd look. Some people, however, have a very definite idea of exactly where six o'clock is. In fact, the entire span of the clock extends around them like a ring, each hour situated in its own place on the ring.

Spacial-sequence synesthesia (also called SSS, sequence-space synesthesia, and spatial-sequence synesthesia) is a condition where an individual senses a physical position of the objects in an ordinal list, automatically and consistently knowing where each element is. If you have ever used the loci memory device, you formed a mental connection between familiar objects or places and items on a list. For example, if you can visualize your living room, you can visualize one of the memory items at key locations in the living room. To remember the list, you mentally glance around the room, noting the items where you have 'placed' them. Similarly, some people mentally place the months of the year on their knuckles, spaces between the knuckles representing the months with fewer days.

months of the year mnemonic

Those who experience SSS automatically have list items connected to locations in their minds. Whether they use visual cues or merely sense positions, the location is very real to them, and they can easily access information by visualizing this location.

How is Spacial-Sequence Synesthesia Experienced?

People experiencing the spacial-sequence synesthesia effect automatically know the location of each member of an ordinal list, but the way this knowledge is experienced varies from person to person. For example, sometimes a person will visualize item locations with their mind's eye. The seemingly physical location of that list item is visible in their imagination. For other people, the location is more of a presence--that is, they can tell if they are facing toward it or away from it, but they do not automatically visualize it. So this would mean that you might mention that you are 'walking toward Monday' when you move across the room, but 'walking toward Friday' if you are headed in the opposite direction. Both locations are real to you, even though you do not actually see anything in their position--rather like sensing the warmth of a stove with your eyes closed.

months of the year

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support