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Human Senses
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Perception
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1.

Smell [electronic resource]

This program investigates how psychological principles determine a smell's level of repellence. After testing natural smells found to be offensive to most people, scientists at Monell Chemical Services Center and the University of California propose that our reactions are heavily shaped by personal experience. Demonstrations of how olfactory lobes work are featured. Host Nigel Marven observes how one of nature's worst smells, skunk, fails to bother everyone at a busy shopping mall. But this soon may change: the Monell scientists are developing the world's first universally abhorrent odor, so disgusting it could be used for crowd control.
Online
2006; 2003
2.

Vision [electronic resource]

This program argues that the human visual system is skillful at some things, but that we miss an amazing amount of what is going on right in front of our eyes. Whether spotting attractive people in a crowd, gauging depth and distance, or even predicting where things end up, the eyes are at their most perceptive. But clever experiments conducted at a nightclub by scientists from Sussex University illustrate that when a person's visual focus reaches its peak, other things within eyesight are missed. Discussion also focuses on the brain's processing of images, as well as the coordination of our sense of vision with our bodies.
Online
2006; 2003
3.

Taste [electronic resource]

This program explores the biological reasons why humans have the most amazing sense of taste on the planet. Persuading a family raised on Chinese food to try ripe Stilton cheese and a group of gourmet cheese lovers to try a Chinese delicacy of fermented raw duck eggs, host Nigel Marven assesses how we end up with such extraordinary tastes that vary across different cultures. Yale University professor Linda Bartoshuck discusses how the tongue and nose work together to taste food, and University of Pennsylvania professor Paul Rozin accompanies Marven to a chili eating contest, where he analyzes the exhilaration of the contestants.
Online
2006; 2003
4.

Touch [electronic resource]

Why are humans so responsive to touch? This program calculates the different sensitivities of the body's most receptive parts. The density of touch sensors in the skin explains why some parts of the body seem to have a much lower pain threshold-a microscopic splinter in a finger can be extremely painful, while a cut on your leg may not hurt as much. University College London professor Tony Dickinson and Stanford University professor David Spiegel conduct experiments with electric shocks, painkillers, and hypnosis to demonstrate the brain's role in the experience of physical pain.
Online
2006; 2003
5.

Hearing [electronic resource]

This program deconstructs the emotional effects evoked by music and other sounds. Experiments by Dr. Mark Blagrove at the Sleep Laboratory in Swansea show that our sense of hearing is constantly alert, even while asleep, and Dr. Sarah Collins, from Nottingham University, explains why deep voices are so attractive to the opposite sex. Scientists assert that we have certain automatic responses to rhythmic sounds because many of our basic body processes work to a beat-the heart pumping or the legs and arms moving as we walk. Highlighted is the mating male humpback whale, which sings to convey emotions to its fellow whales.
Online
2006; 2003
6.

Balance [electronic resource]

This program focuses on the components of our sense of balance. Stunt coordinator Marc Cass demonstrates how the balance organs inform us of how we are moving. At the Circus School, in San Francisco, a troupe of acrobats illustrates how eyes control balance by calculating what our bodies are doing in relation to the outside world. Dr. Ros Davies, from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, examines why alcohol consumption worsens balance. The cause of seasickness is also discussed, and a trip onboard an infamous roller coaster, the Russian Vomit Comet, reveals the "why" behind the sickening results for first-time riders.
Online
2006; 2003