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Student with rare condition can ”taste” words

22-year-old Kathryn Jackson suffers from a rare condition that causes her to ”taste” words, feeling a certain flavour in her mouth whenever she hears particular words.

Kathryn Jackson has an extremely rare condition called lexical-gustatory synaesthesia. This means that spoken or written language makes people that have this disease experience a very intense smell or taste of the item they associate the word with.

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A post shared by I Taste Words (@i_taste_words) on


“I can taste words when I hear or see them. Sometimes a word sounds like a food item, which can trigger me to taste it. So for example when I hear the name ‘Lola’ I can taste lollypops,” Jackson declared.

“The name Ella makes me taste jelly beans because ‘Ella’ and ‘jella’ rhyme. My friend Rory’s name makes me taste carrots, because it sounds like ‘raw’ which makes me think of carrots,” she further added.

It is not only rhymes that trigger her sensations, but childhood memories as well.  ”My nan’s hairdresser’s name is Yvonne, so whenever I hear that name, I always taste cigarettes and smell hairspray,” she details.

Kathryn Jackson explains that a lot of times she finds it difficult to carry conversations with people, as she is constantly distracted by the sensations the words trigger. In order to better cope with her condition, the creative advertising student set up an Instagram account called ”I-taste-words”, where she uploads colourful illustrations that portray items and the words associated with them.

Lydia Peirce