An in-depth look at the science behind the hidden powers of your senses and how to harness their potential.
In this revealing romp through the mysteries of human perception, University of California psychologist and researcher Lawrence Rosenblum explores the astonishing abilities of the five senses-skills of which most of us are remarkably unaware. Drawing on groundbreaking insights into the brain's plasticity and integrative powers, including findings from his own research, Rosenblum examines how our brains use the subtlest information to perceive the world. A blind person, for example, can “see” through bat-like echolocation; a master sommelier can actually taste the grape variety, region, and vintage of an obscure wine; and pheromones can subliminally signal a lover's compatibility. To illustrate these implicit perceptual skills, Rosenblum takes us from the “beep” baseball fields where blind players swing at beeping balls, to a pitch-black restaurant where diners experience taste without the aid of sight. We accompany him on a visit to an Oscar-winning animator who explains how the public's expertise in perceiving faces has made his job so difficult; and a visit with a supermodel to discuss why beautiful faces are irresistible.
New studies have shed light on the surprising power and reach of our senses. It turns out that our brains use entire forms of perceptual information of which we are largely unaware. We can hear things that don't make sounds, feel things without touching them, see things with no form, and smell things that have no discernible odor. Throughout the book, Rosenblum not only illuminates the fascinating science behind our hidden perceptual powers, but demonstrates how increased awareness of these abilities can actually lead us to enhance how we use them.
Lawrence D. Rosenblum
is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. He is the recipient of numerous National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants and has published many articles on perceptual psychology.