Posted: March 1, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Our five senses–sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell–seem to operate independently, as five distinct modes of perceiving the world. In reality, however, they collaborate closely to enable the mind to better understand its surroundings. We can become aware of this collaboration under special circumstances. In some cases, a sense may covertly influence the one we think is dominant. When visual information clashes with that from sound, sensory crosstalk can cause what we see to alter what we hear. When one sense drops out, another can pick up the slack. For instance, people who are blind can train their hearing to play double duty. Those who are both blind and deaf can make touch step in—to say, help them interpret speech. For a few individuals with a condition called synesthesia, the senses collide dramatically to form a kaleidoscope world in which chicken tastes like triangles, a symphony smells of baked bread or words bask in a halo of red, green or purple. (For more on how the senses can cross each other and into unusual territory, see “Edges of Perception,” by Ariel Bleicher, Scientific American Mind, March/April 2012.) (via Making Sense of the World, Several Senses at a Time: Scientific American)

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