General Question

cornbird's avatar

Can a person improve their natural senses, if so how?

Asked by cornbird (1750points) January 5th, 2010

Is it possible to improve your sense of sight, smell, touch and taste? If so, how do you do that?

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19 Answers

frdelrosario's avatar

Getting rid of one enhances all the others.

Fyrius's avatar

Practise, I’d say.
Buy a book in Braille, and read it.
Get a few different kinds of, say, red wine and try to tell them apart blindfolded. Or get into cooking; that should train smell too.
As for sight… not sure if that can improve without glasses.

But this is all just my uninformed guesswork. I’m not sure if any of this will help at all. I’d be happy it if someone in the know could tell me if I’m completely wrong.

mammal's avatar

remove one

breedmitch's avatar

Practice is correct. I basically smell and taste wines for a living. When I began this job my senses of taste and smell were good, but they have really become more acute over the last two years. In fact my sense of smell is now so sensitive, I can smell things in a room that others can not.

judochop's avatar

You will need a few private sessions with Yoda. I hear he can do this but hes super expensive.

LocoLuke's avatar

As you age, your ability to sense in certain ways changes. Sensitivity generally peaks around early adulthood, and only degenerates afterwards. What Fyrius and Breedmitch are referring to is not so much the improvement of the sense as it is the optimization of them. You have limited capability to sense, but it is possible to use the senses you have more effectively or train yourself to pay more attention to certain sensations.

Austinlad's avatar

Let me suggest something less drastic than surgery. I know it works because I’ve done it. It’s called, re-sensitizing your senses. All you have to do is get away for a weekend, go somwhere beautiful and quiet, like the country, mountains, or woods. Leave your electronic gadgets at home and let your senses take control. Smell the vegetation. Look at the landscape and sky. Hear the sounds the earth makes when it’s not drowned out by cellphone chatter and honking horns and city noise. Stretch out on the ground and feel the grass under your back. Stare at the stars (they do make a sound if you listen hard enough). Sleep in a tent and wake up to sounds and smells you’ll never hear at home. Take a long weekend ALONE, my friend. I promise your senses will sharpen up.

RedPowerLady's avatar

As a matter of fact there is a way to do so.

Let me give you a reverse example. You know how if you live by the train tracks eventually the train passing becomes like white noise, something you filter out? That same phenomenon unfortunately applies to nature. So it works with hearing bird chirps etc.. To correct this you just need to become aware of your surroundings, live in your body and not your head, and actively notice these sounds. This works with something like taste as well. I mean we scarf our food. Instead just take a bite and savor it, chew slowly, enjoy it, before moving on to the next bite. It is all about being aware.

LocoLuke's avatar

The technical term that Austinlad and RedPowerLady are referring to is habituation: when introduced to a constant stimulus, your brain begins to ignore it. That doesn’t mean you have become less sensitive, though, because your sensory organs are still transmitting the same signals and it is your brain filtering out information which it deems ignorable. Sort of like how you stop noticing the feeling of wearing a sock after a while. Not feeling it doesn’t mean you have become less sensitive unless it actually damages the nerve endings.

Fyrius's avatar

There are autistic people who don’t have this filtering mechanism, whose brains can’t distinguish which stimuli are worth paying attention to and which are not. It’s a very bothersome condition.

reactor5's avatar

Sherlock Holmes did this using the tips above. I don’t know how effective fictional advice is for this, but he just paid attention to every single detail. Didn’t let anything escape his grasp. After a while, it just becomes second nature.

Something my friends and I do to for fun is go into restaurants and try and notice everything. Then while we’re eating, one of us will ask the others a question about the restaurant, such as “what did it smell like when we came in””, or “how many lights are there above the cash register””. We can even get mean sometimes, asking questions like “What is the brand of beer on the second tap from the cashier’s side?”. I’m sorry to confess we stole it from Psych, but it’s well worth doing. Great game, and a great way to improve your powers of observation.

<possible tangent> The second thing I do is occassionaly when I’m feeling really stressed I’ll close my eyes for a moment and ask myself exactly what my other senses are feeling. For me at least, vision is such a dominatn sense that all the others tend to fall by the wayside, so by closing my eyes, aka “getting rid of them” @mammal I can get a much fuller sensory experience than with them open. It works especially well outside, of course, but inside it can help identify unpleasant and stress causing smells and noises in your domicile. It’s certainly helped me when I know I’m feeling stressed to identify the cause of it. </ possible tangent>

cornbird's avatar

@reactor5 Like meditation…I see.

cornbird's avatar

What about sight? Is it possible for a human to see beyond his ordinary limit..naturally?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius I think that autistic people would agree that their condition is unfortunate? Or am I missing the point. I am all for anything that helps them. For those who don’t have it though it is unfortunate that our birds are filtered out along with the traffic.

Fyrius's avatar

I’ll explain the point I was trying to make and leave it up to you to judge whether you missed it.
You said: “That same phenomenon unfortunately applies to nature.”
I say this is not really unfortunate at all, and we should be happy that it does. People for whom it doesn’t certainly don’t seem to enjoy the information overload their senses feeds them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius I see your point now. Thank you for explaining it to me. I disagree to some extent but see how if it didn’t happen at all it could become overwhelming.

Fyrius's avatar

You’re welcome, and fair enough.

reactor5's avatar

@cornbird eating carrots doesn’t cut it, apparently. But here’s 6 foods that do. Other than that, next time you go to the eye doctor ask him if he has any recommendations for you. You’re not going to improve your vision to hawk-like status, but it can certainly get better, depending on how bad it is now.

As far as eye health is concerned, make sure you have your latest prescription of glasses/contacts if you wear any. The wrong prescription can seriously screw up your eyes.

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