<div style="direction: ltr;"><span class="q">Since there has been some interest in this thread, I'm reposting my off-list reply to Anna - I'd like to hear what people think about my theory about the tradeoff between perception and environmental modelling (vision) vs the direct sampling of chemistry (scent) or how sound provides an always-on backup when vision fails at night. Thoughts?
<br><br>On 1/19/07, Anna Taylor <<a onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)" href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:<br>> What do you think is your most keen sense?<br>>
<br>> Do you have a keen sense of taste, can you remember<br>> smell very well, can you hear or have a better ear?<br>> If you believe you have more than one keen sense,<br>> please specify in order.<br>><br>
> (Examples and stories are always welcome)<br><br></span></div>Either hearing or sight. If forced to choose I would answer hearing<br>because I believe sight to be more a function of perception software<br>rather than hardware. While I doubt my visual hardware is
<br>significantly better than anyone else with 20/20 visual acuity, I seem<br>to "see" more details. Others may be able to read street signs at 2<br>blocks, but few of them would also notice the status of the traffic
<br>lights at the same time. I think the internal mechanisms for<br>processing a video stream is very different from the quality of<br>hardware that generates that stream.<br> Hearing may be similar, but I am not as aware of the process as
<br>much. It seems to me that the hardware and software for<br>detecting/processing this information are more closely integrated and<br>it's less clear where a line could be drawn. I have been called "dog<br>ears" because I notice when line printers run out of paper even though
<br>they're two rooms away - or must hunt down the source of normally<br>inaudible sounds to disable their incessant noise (coworker's monitor<br>hum from the opposite side of a cube farm)<br> I have a friend who was describing his martial arts training and it
<br>seemed to me that the always-on nature of his training would also<br>heighten his senses. I would be interesting (if you are putting<br>together a formal survey) to know if there is a link between martial<br>arts training and heightened sense acuity. (i digress)
<br><br>are you interested in explaining how or why our senses have evolved<br>the way they have? ex: during the day, line of sight visual<br>landscape modelling is highly detailed, but fails at night - though<br>hearing is able to provide a (possibly) less detailed, yet more
<br>consistent (day & night) description of environmental dangers (or<br>opportunity) Is the olfactory sense more subtle because the hardware<br>and software are even more integrated than hearing? Is it tied more<br>
closely to memory because it samples direct chemistry rather than<br>modelling a percpetion of reality?