Four-leaf Clovers and Synesthesia
by Matthew James Taylor on 4 June 2012
I find four-leaf clovers quite a lot. I have over one hundred of them. I even have a few five-leaf clovers and a couple of sixers! I have them pressed in books and tucked away in various places around the house. Why do I find so many, I hear you ask? Well I actually have a theory about this...
Normally when I spot a four/five-leaf clover it's not that I'm searching for them. They just jump out at me - almost like I catch them move as I walk by. My eye is drawn right to their exact spot in the clover patch. I'm sure my synesthesia is at work here. Synesthesia, for those who don't know, is like a cross-wiring of the senses. The condition comes in many forms but I have letter-colour synesthesia. When I see the letters of the alphabet I get an additional sense of colour for each letter (regardless of what colour the letter actually is). So for me, F is green and Q is purple etc. See my coloured alphabet for more info.
Back to clovers... When I glance across a clover patch, any clover that doesn't have three leaves is a different shape. My brain notices this difference and it immediately stands out from the others. This is nicely illustrated by this Wikipedia diagram:
The left is how a normal person sees the shapes. The right is how syntheses may see the shapes, notice how the reversed shapes are obvious due to their different colour. For me, four-leaf clovers are a different shape so they stand out in a clover patch very much like this. Unlike letters and numbers however, I don't get a sense of colour, it's more like a sense of movement. So they really do jump out at me!!
Can you spot 4 leaf clovers?
After a while I started taking pictures of clovers before I picked them just to see if other people could spot them as easily as me. Give it a try... Can you find any four-leaf clovers in the following photos?
Did you find many? There are a few five-leaf clovers in some of the pictures too. :)
I keep a lot of my clovers in a flower press I built that is shaped like a flower. I built it for my partner because she loves pressing flowers but I seem to have taken it over with clovers! Sorry Felicity!
So do four-leaf clovers make you lucky? I actually don't know... ;)
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