Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience


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A lively and unconventional exploration of our senses, how they work, what is revealed when they don’t, and how they connect us to the world

Over the past decade neuroscience has uncovered a wealth of new information about our senses and how they serve as our gateway to the world. This splendidly accessible book explores the most intriguing findings of this research. With infectious enthusiasm, Rob DeSalle illuminates not only how we see, hear, smell, touch, taste, maintain balance, feel pain, and rely on other less familiar senses, but also how these senses shape our perception of the world aesthetically, artistically, and musically.
DeSalle first examines the question of how perception and consciousness are formed in the brain, setting human senses in an evolutionary context. He then investigates such varied themes as supersenses and diminished senses, synesthesia and other cross-sensory phenomena, hemispheric specialization, diseases, anomalies induced by brain injuries, and hallucinations. Focusing on what is revealed about our senses through the extraordinary, he provides unparalleled insights into the unique wonders of the human brain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300230192
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Rob DeSalle is curator at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has curated or cocurated six highly praised exhibitions and leads a research group in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. He is the author or coauthor of fifteen books, including Welcome to the Genome. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xiii

1 The Brainless Majority: Sensing the Environment in Organisms without Brains 1

2 Brains and Prains: Brains (or Not) in Animals from Sponges to Us 15

3 The Monkey's Unculus: Tactile and Balance Sensory Capacity in Animals 27

4 A Matter of Taste (and Odorant) Receptors: Smell and Taste Reception in Animals 41

5 All Ears (and Eyes): Animal Hearing and Sight 57

6 Supersmellers and Supertasters: The Limits of Smell and Taste in Humans 66

7 Where Am I? The Limits of Hearing and Balance in Humans 85

8 Touchy Feely: Touch and How It Is Linked to Other Senses 99

9 The Eyes Have It: The Limits of Sight in Humans 108

10 Accidents Will Happen: Traumatic Brain Injury and the Impact on Our Senses 122

11 Modern Life, Strokes, and the Senses: The Impact of Strokes and Other Brain Damage on Sensory Capacity 139

12 Full/Half/Split Brains: People with Unique Brains 149

13 Team of Rivals Meets the Kluge: Making Sense Out of Crossmodal Stimuli from the Outer World 160

14 Neural Detritus: Making Sense Out of a Noisy Environment 172

15 Pani ca' Meusa, Crème Brûlée, and Synesthesia: Crossmodal Impact on Taste and Synesthesia 185

16 Connectomes: How Crossmodal Interactions Work in the Brain 205

17 Faces and Hallucinations: Facial Recognition and Hallucinations as Subjects in Higher Perception 217

18 Bob Dylan's Nobel: Language, Literacy, and How the Senses Interact to Produce Literature 230

19 Facing the Music: The Neurobiology of Music and Art 241

20 No Limits: The Limits to What We Can Sense and the Future of Our Senses 256

Literature and Further Reading 265

Index 281

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