[extropy-chat] Questionnaire on senses

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 27 05:25:25 UTC 2007

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?

On 1/19/07, Anna Taylor <femmechakra at yahoo.ca> wrote:
> What do you think is your most keen sense?
> Do you have a keen sense of taste, can you remember
> smell very well, can you hear or have a better ear?
> If you believe you have more than one keen sense,
> please specify in order.
> (Examples and stories are always welcome)

Either hearing or sight.  If forced to choose I would answer hearing
because I believe sight to be more a function of perception software
rather than hardware.  While I doubt my visual hardware is
significantly better than anyone else with 20/20 visual acuity, I seem
to "see" more details.  Others may be able to read street signs at 2
blocks, but few of them would also notice the status of the traffic
lights at the same time.  I think the internal mechanisms for
processing a video stream is very different from the quality of
hardware that generates that stream.
 Hearing may be similar, but I am not as aware of the process as
much.  It seems to me that the hardware and software for
detecting/processing this information are more closely integrated and
it's less clear where a line could be drawn.  I have been called "dog
ears" because I notice when line printers run out of paper even though
they're two rooms away - or must hunt down the source of normally
inaudible sounds to disable their incessant noise (coworker's monitor
hum from the opposite side of a cube farm)
 I have a friend who was describing his martial arts training and it
seemed to me that the always-on nature of his training would also
heighten his senses.  I would be interesting (if you are putting
together a formal survey) to know if there is a link between martial
arts training and heightened sense acuity. (i digress)

are you interested in explaining how or why our senses have evolved
the way they have?  ex:  during the day, line of sight visual
landscape modelling is highly detailed, but fails at night - though
hearing is able to provide a (possibly) less detailed, yet more
consistent (day & night) description of environmental dangers (or
opportunity)  Is the olfactory sense more subtle because the hardware
and software are even more integrated than hearing?  Is it tied more
closely to memory because it samples direct chemistry rather than
modelling a percpetion of reality?
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20070127/37ee6a32/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list