Sense Perception Summaries: Touch and Hearing


A Touch of Understanding: Gene Tweak Opens Sensory Black Box– Researchers have developed a technique to trace nerve endings and hope to someday create a complete neural map to shed some light on the least understood sense: touch. How will a complete neural map change the way we learn about and perceive touch?

Kissing device lets you send a long-distance smooch– A new egg-like device with lips, called the Kissenger, allows users to send their partners wireless kisses. Who in the world would ever actually use this?

Dating With Science: Touch A Girl’s Arm And She Will Basically Fall In Love With You – Subtle, slight physical contact can improve many relationships, from those as close as romantic partners to as casual as a waitress and her customer. How does one draw the line between contact that helps a relationship and contact that makes people uncomfortable?

10 Psychological Effects of Nonsexual Touch– There are many different situations in which light touching on the arm can be effective; however, culture, gender, and specific situation must be considered. How does the location of a light touch change its significant and meaning?

The Cutting Edge of Haptics–  Scientists have created a touch-based interface which can trick the body into thinking a flat surface is sharp or pointed. How can this technology be used, both practically and for entertainment or artistic purposes?

The Body Language of Touch– In various cultures, touch means different things and it is important to understand the cultural context of touch. Why have various cultures developed different meanings for the same kinds of touches?


The Cocktail Party Effect– Humans have an impressive ability to distinguish and tune into one distinct voice out of many. Does this ability apply to other sounds besides voices, or when the sounds we are tuning out are not voices?

The Sound of Taste– A study shows that foods that sound crispier are perceived to taste better. How does sound influence the way we perceive things through other senses, such as touch, sight, and smell?

Beethoven’s Deafness May Have Influenced His Music Throughout The Years: Study– Ludwig Van Beethoven, famous classical composer, seems to have used more lower-pitched notes in his pieces as his deafness caused by tinnitus grew worse with age. Would music written by someone with a hearing condition be more appealing to people with similar problems (not deafness, I doubt they would appreciate any type of music)?

Make the City Sound Better– A microphone picks up all the noise of the city and a specially designed software turns this cacophony into unique music in real time. How does this program “know” how to make appealing music?

Environmental Cues That Boost Creativity– Creative thinking can be boosted by certain, controllable environmental factors; in the case of sounds, this factor could be ambient noise. Why is the brain able to think more creatively when there is a certain level of noise, versus complete silence?

World’s Largest Natural Sound Archive Now Online– Cornell University has digitized its collection of biodiversity audio and video recordings, ranging from an ostrich chick inside the egg to whales. How do the sounds certain animals make help define their species?

My Article:

Auditory training with noise can work in hearing-impaired children– Some initial evidence has been found that children who are hearing-impaired show significant improvements in the classroom after undergoing a three week auditory training program. Can people without hearing impairments also improve their abilities with programs such as these?



  1. Red is the taste of Red Vines on your first movie date :,) #toksyn
  2. The scent of red is like being told you will be spending your break with your pungent distant relative #toksyn

Color or Synesthesia Project Proposal

1. What is the overall theme – color or synesthesia? (If synesthesia, what senses are you addressing?)


2. What Ways of Knowing are you addressing besides Sense Perception? (Reasoning? Emotion? Language?)


3. To what Areas of Knowledge does your project relate? (Arts, Psychology/Human Sciences, Maths, Natural Sciences, Ethics, History?)


4. What is it exactly, you plan to do and/or investigate?

I plan to investigate and analyze the use of color symbolism in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and compare the main colors symbols in that book to the same colors used in other literary works.

5. What is your driving question? (should be open-ended, perhaps starting with “How do we know” or “To what extent”)

To what extent do authors use various colors symbolically to insert meaning into their works?

6. How is your project inherently about knowledge/knowing?

I think that my project is inherently about knowledge because it explores a very important aspect of one of the ways of knowing: language. Language is not always used directly to convey knowledge. Figurative language, such as metaphors, similes, and symbols, is extremely important to understand as well, especially in literature.

7. What materials will you need?

I will need the book itself, of course, a computer to do auxiliary research and to compile my findings, and materials to make some sort of illustrations for the colors and the symbols they are associated with.

8. Who could assist you / mentor you on this project?

I don’t think I need anyone to assist me in this project because I don’t plan on doing anything out of the ordinary which I don’t already have the capabilities to do or that I don’t know how to do myself.

9. How will you present the project to the class?

I tentatively plan on presenting this project to the class with a Vuvox, showing the colors, my depictions of the main symbols from the novel, and pop-ups with analysis and other literary examples. However, I may also choose to make a poster with the illustrations and accompanying analysis. I do think that this version might be more visually appealing, but would not allow as much room for the writing.

10. Projects are due the Cycle of March 1 – how do you plan to manage the time for this task?

This gives me 18 days to complete the project, if I start tomorrow. I see it as having three main phases: doing research into and analyzing Fitzgerald’s use of color symbolism in The Great Gatsby, finding similar and contrasting uses of color symbolism in other works of literature, and illustrating the symbols I find. This gives me six days (nearly a week) to do each section of the project, which I think is ample time.

Visual Perception

How does our visual perception help and hinder our pursuit of knowledge?

I would be hard pressed to say that our visual perception hinders our pursuit of knowledge. Of course, there are hundreds of optical illusions that one can point to and say that this proves that our visual perception is not infallible, that our eyes and our mind are imperfect and play tricks on us. However, one thing I found really interesting was the idea presented by Beau Lotto in an interview, in which he states that the entire idea of an illusion of this sort is based on a misconception. We can’t see the world “as it actually is” and we aren’t evolved to see it “as it is”. We’re evolved to see it in a way that was once useful to us. What I wonder then is why are some of these seemingly random and bizarre “errors” in our visual perception useful? How do they affect our everyday lives? When we look at an optical illusion, we understand that reality and what we see conflict. But what about when our only reality is based off of what we see? Are there things we misinterpret in everyday life? Can things really be misinterpreted when we only have one way to perceive them?

That’s why I would argue that our visual perception predominately helps our pursuit of knowledge. Lotto says that we have no direct access to the physical world. Without any access, how can we pursue knowledge? I would argue that our visual perception, along with our other sense perceptions, is our direct access to the physical world. It may just be our brain processing light that means nothing without processing, but how could we possibly have a perception that is more direct than this? What exactly is direct access to our world?

In a much less philosophical and much more narrow sense, our visual perception affects, obviously, who we are attracted to, which was explored in the BBC web series Science of Attraction. The most interesting thing I found here was an experiment in which the mere exposure hypothesis was tested. This hypothesis states that repeated exposure to something makes it more appealing to us. This was tested by showing both a normal and a mirrored picture of a participant to the participant and their partner, asking them to choose which they preferred. As the participants sees themselves most often in a mirror, they should theoretically find the mirrored image more appealing, while their partner sees them directly, and should find the normal image more attractive. Though the sample size was small, the hypothesis seemed to be supported. Our visual perception, apparently, can be altered simply by repeated exposure to something.

How are our sense manipulated by the media?

We hear a lot about the media manipulating us, especially in terms of what we find attractive and how attractive we perceive ourselves to be. There are a million articles online about how people, especially young women, have a lower self-confidence and a negative body image with can lead to, of course, many problems (one of the most well known and sensationalized would be eating disorders. One of the practices of the media that many blame for these problems is the extreme editing of their models (shown in the latter half of this video), making them appear unrealistically perfect. The aspect of this whole manipulation by the media idea that I find the most interesting is how the perception of what is physically attractive changes between cultures and over time, proving that what we find attractive isn’t simple and objective. For example, in ancient China, a small foot was considered extremely attractive, to the point that damaging the foot through foot binding was a common practice. How much of attractiveness is objective (such as a symmetrical face), cultural (such as a thin body in Western cultures), or personal? How much do the media change our perception of beauty in things besides people? Is media an influence on how we perceive some things that may be inherently beautiful (beauty in nature, perhaps)?

Augmented “The Key to Media’s Hidden Codes”