Synesthesia, loosely defined as the phenomenon of a sensation creating an unnatural secondary sensation, is actually quite common; some humans perceive numbers as colors, for instance. But Psychology Today reports the story of a young Texas girl might be the only person on the planet identified to have what’s known as “mirror touch” synesthesia — where an individual feels the emotions of those around her — with machines, not humans.
The girl (who is not named to protect her identity) describes the experience as an “extra limb,” an extension of her own body, when she’s near a machine that she’s not touching — she cites cars, robots, escalators, locks, and levers as examples of mechanical objects that act as stimuli. “When watching cars crash in a movie, I feel them as they’re ripped and crush, and I usually have to turn away and cut myself off from the stimulus,” she says. Interestingly, she identifies humanoid robots as a “stranger” experience for her due to their physical similarities to her own body."