Fri 11 Apr, 2008 10:21 pm
Can anyone cite any research or offer an informed opinion, or in the final alternative, an opinion unencumbered by knowledge, regarding the percent of perceptible change that the average human being can detect using any of the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell)?
my opinions are often unencumbered by knowledge
always check your change
it's the only alternative
As are mine.
I always like to insert a small iota of comic relief into my postings, just to demonstrate that I'm a "regular" guy. I have a tendency to use that phrase more than I should, in conversations with our senior executives, but I always make sure I use it n a self-deprecating manner, aimed at myself - but in a way so that others will take notice, and limit the sharing of opinions that are unencumbered by knowledge. It usually results in a more reasoned and rationale discussion for all.
Now, all that "comic relief" aside, do you (or anyone else) have some further insights to share on the threshold of (the change) sensory perception. Come one, come all.
There is Synesthesia
where tasting colors, hearing odors--etal exist. It is a relatively common in far more people than are willing to admit (a fear of being accused of abnormalcy?).
I recall seeing something about the ability of people to detect changes in pitch many, many years ago but I've never seen anything on other senses. I vaguely recall that the ability when it comes to hearing isn't linear but that's about the extent of my memory on it.
Interesting question though!
Change would have to be an abrupt or rapid change. If a sound were shifted slowly enough, for example, we may not recognize the change for a long time even though it has shifted a great deal. (Like the old frog-in-a-slowly-heating-pot-of-water analogy)
And then age, health, etc. are a factor. Specialists in sensation, like a gourmet, an artist, a musician, etc. will probably detect subtle changes much faster than the ordinary person.
I have heard that the human tongue is capable of detecting one grain of sugar in a traincar load of water, but I find that hard to believe.
Okay, some indications that folks are putting some good thought into this question. There's a couple of suggestions of some answers that may stray into the territory of "opinion unencumbered by knowledge" - but I'm okay with that too.
I've got some research already under my belt that can speak definitively and empirically to the issues of the range of human sensory perception, but still nothing regarding the threshold at which we can perceive changes. And yes, I will happily concede that I've already contemplated that the threshold will differ on the basis of the individual themselves and their current state of health and age. That's why I'm pursuing more of an average threshold indicator.
I'll leave this to ripen further and see what other input it elicits. Thanks
Five senses? - Scientific America (mid 2007) - I thought latest research put it at about 37 sensory generators?