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The Senses

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Submitted By JAYAPARAS1961
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The senses: Taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell. Everything we know is based on our perception of our senses and our knowledge of the world. Everything we know of perceptually in our brain’s memory bank is built upon the senses. Our senses pick up information and send it to our brain to be processed into something tangible. We use our senses to prove what we are told and we unconsciously depend upon our senses to function. Someone tells us a train is coming and it is near; we immediately want proof of it. The first instinct we have is to look for it and if we don’t see it we listen for it. If we cannot see or hear it then more than likely we are probably not going to believe that the train is near and dismiss the person as being misinformed. Our senses help us to make ‘sound” judgments as to whether we believe in something, if we like or dislike something, and if we trust or fear something. Without our senses we could not function.
Businesses use sensory analysis, a technique to test or analyze our senses for their marketing. A restaurant uses sensory analysis to find out if their products are feasible to market by analyzing the effect a food product has upon their clients. The International Organization for Standardization has set procedures for sensory analysis “to conduct sensory evaluations under constant, controlled conditions with a minimum of distractions, to reduce the effect that psychological factors and physical conditions can have on human judgment” (International Organization of Standards, 2007). Sensory analysis will gather information on the flavor, taste, texture, appearance and aroma and then use that information to develop their product, compare it to the competition, and a use it as a quality benchmark to ensure it meets certain specifications. Companies are willing to pay for this research because it allows them to know if their product is something their clientele will potentially buy and enjoy.
We use our senses for our safety. Our safety depends partly on our senses which then trigger an unconscious reaction. That reaction is our instincts. Trusting our instincts based on our sensory perceptions is hard to describe. “Scientists continue to prove the importance of believing in what we call our instincts but in fact are simply the natural gifts of rapid cognition and unconscious (subconscious) sense recognition.” (Smith, 2009) Smith talks in his article about officer safety but it applies to everyone. Sometimes our senses pick up clues to our environment and we unconsciously process that information and act upon it. Sometimes we see something and although it does not make a particular impression on us, subconsciously we might know that something just does not seem right about what we are seeing and it makes us concentrate on it until we figure out what it is. It does not immediately register in our conscious mind but unconsciously we know something is not right. Ever think about being someplace and your eyes keep going back to something and you have no idea why in the world you are staring at it, then later you find out that indeed something was going on that you were not aware of but you did not find out what it was until later? Sometimes we find out that we were in danger and were not even aware of it. They say if you feel something is wrong, act upon it. Your brain knows but your conscious might be slow to pick up on it.
On the flip side, we can be deceived by what we perceive with our senses. As we age our eyesight deteriorates and what we think we see is not what is actually there. We may listen to a conversation but because we cannot hear clearly (and are embarrassed to admit that), we may act upon wrong information. As we age we use our senses to make decisions based on what we see and hear but we cannot always rely on them to tell us the “truth”.
How do we establish what are "truths"? Our senses process information based on iour perceptions but there are also truths which are not universal truths. These are Subjective Perceptions based on each individual and are based on what we can do. For example a person might be told to paint a picture using primary colors and have another group of people grade how well the person interpreted the instructions. Someone might draw a picture that includes a major element in brown and might be graded with a failure because of this. Why? The grader might be color blind and see the red element as being brown and think the artist missed the mark. Of course the artist did not but the perception of the grader and the perception of the artist. What is a truth for one person does not necessarily mean another person holds the same truth. The artist might try to communicate his perception to the grader but that is not reliable either because then their communications are subject to being exaggerated, falsified and/or misinterpreted.
I have to conclude that our senses are important to us because without them, it would be nearly impossible for us to function; however, senses are imperative for us to be able to make judgments, and to be able to make conclusions which formulate our reality.


International Organization of Standards. (2007). Sensory analysis -- General guidance for the design of test rooms . ISO 8589:2007, 16.
Smith, D. (2009, October 29). The smell of fear: Science, senses, and officer safety. The Street Survival Newsline, pp. 30-31.

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