Matthew James Taylor
Synesthesia Helps Me Find Four Leaf Clovers
4 Jun 2012 — Updated 17 Jan 2023
I find four-leaf clovers quite a lot.
I have several 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 have a theory about this...
Normally when I spot a four or 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 its exact spot in the clover patch.
I'm sure my synesthesia is at work here. (Read my synesthesia story)
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:
Left is how a normal person sees the shapes. Right is how synesthetes may see the shapes, notice how the reversed shapes are obvious due to their different color.
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 color, it's more like a sense of movement.
So they do jump out at me!
It's common for synesthetes with grapheme-color synesthesia to find 4-leaf clovers more easily. The cross-wiring of senses in a synesthete brain causes 4-leaf shapes to appear a different color to the 3-leaf variety, so they stand out. Ordinary people only see a patch of homogeneous green leaves.
Amber, aka The Woodland Elf is another artist with synesthesia who finds four-leaf clovers.
Do you have synesthesia? Do you find four-leaf clovers? Let me know.
Can you spot 4 leaf clovers?
Let's play a little synesthesia game! ;)
I started taking pictures of four-leaf clovers before I picked them (or instead of picking them) just to see if other people could spot them as easily as I.
Give it a try.
How many four-leaf clovers can you see in the following photos?
Did you find any?
Hint: 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.
So do four-leaf clovers make you lucky?
I don't know... ;)