We’ve lived in our body for so long that we don’t think that much about how things work or why they work like that. From mapping a certain memory to a smell to the simpleness of tasting a sour food, our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. And these 24 weird facts about our senses explore just that, how unique and weird we all are.
1. Blind spot
Our eyes have a blind spot where the optic nerve exits the retina. Despite this blind spot, our brain cleverly fills in the missing information, creating a seamless visual experience.
2. Less color receptors than butterflies
Butterflies have 15 color receptors (humans have only three), allowing them to see ultraviolet light. They can perceive a spectrum of colors invisible to us, making their world much more vibrant.
3. Upside-down vision
The human brain actually sees the world upside down! The lens in your eye projects an inverted image onto your retina, but your brain flips it right side up, creating the visual reality you perceive.
4. Capable of self-healing
If you have a minor corneal abrasion you can expect full recovery in, get this, up to 48 hours! In two days your eye is brand new, how crazy is that?
5. Perfect pitch potential
Some people have perfect pitch, meaning they can identify or recreate musical notes without any reference. This ability is relatively rare, as 1 in 1,500 school age children have it, and is thought to be a combination of genetics and early exposure to music.
6. Selective hearing
Your brain can selectively tune in or out certain sounds. This is why you might be able to hear your name mentioned in a noisy room even if you weren’t paying attention to the conversation.
7. Phantom sounds
The sensation of hearing ringing in your ears when there’s complete silence around you it’s called tinnitus. It’s not an external sound but a perception generated by your auditory system. Too much exposure to loud noises can contribute to tinnitus.
8. The cocktail party effect
Your brain has the incredible ability to focus on a single conversation in a noisy room, known as the cocktail party effect. It can filter out background noise to let you concentrate on specific sounds.
9. You don’t hear your own voice
When you speak, your voice sounds different because you hear it both through the air and through vibrations in your skull. This makes your voice sound deeper than it is.
10. Tongue map myth
The idea that different areas of the tongue are responsible for specific tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) is a myth. Taste buds for all flavors are distributed across the entire tongue.
11. Umami discovery
Umami, often described as a savory or meaty taste, was officially recognized as the fifth taste in 2002. It joins sweet, sour, salty, and bitter as a distinct flavor category, a meaty/savory taste.
12. Smell influence
Much of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. This is why food might seem bland when you have a cold; with a stuffy nose, the yummy aroma can’t reach your olfactory receptors and you feel like you’re eating wet cardboard.
13. Pine mouth
A rare occurrence but some people experience a strange metallic taste in their mouths after consuming pine nuts. This phenomenon, known as pine mouth, can last for days and has no cure, meaning you have to wait for it to go away by itself.
14. Supertaster scale
While some people are supertasters, meaning they have more taste buds than the average Joe, others are non-tasters, and the majority fall in between as medium tasters. Supertasters have more taste buds, making them highly sensitive to flavors, especially bitterness.
15. Change in taste
Miracle fruit, a berry native to West Africa, contains a protein that temporarily rewires taste buds. When consumed, it can make sour or acidic foods taste sweet. The effects last up to 30 minutes and make for one heck of a culinary experience.
16. From smell to scent and the other way around
The sense of smell is closely linked to memory and emotion. Smells can trigger powerful recollections of past experiences, often more vividly than other stimulants
17. Unique scents
Each person has a distinct odor, influenced by genetics and immune system, among others. This unique scent is what dogs, with their incredible sense of smell, use to find bad guys or missing persons.
18. Phantom smells
Similar to phantom limb pain, some people experience phantom smells. This condition, called phantosmia, involves smelling odors that aren’t present, often described as unpleasant or even foul. It’s often linked with the common cold but it can also be connected with other more serious conditions.
19. Connection by smell
You may find the smell of a familiar person more attractive because of your immune system’s preference for diverse genetic compatibility options. So yeah, your body tends to be attracted to scents that complement your own immune system.
20. Loss of smell
Anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell, has been linked to depression. The olfactory system is intertwined with certain brain regions associated with mood regulation, and the loss of smell can impact your emotional well-being.
21. The mystery behind the common tickle
The exact reason we’re ticklish is still a bit of a mystery. Scientists believe it might be a protective reflex or a way to bond socially. Interestingly, you can’t tickle yourself because your brain anticipates the sensation.
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22. Mirror touch synesthesia
This is when people feel a physical sensation when observing others. If they see someone getting their hair brushed, they might feel a similar effect on their own head. The same goes for pain or any other sensations.
23. The point of pressure points
The human body has various pressure points where applying pressure can influence different sensations. Acupressure and massage therapies often target these points to alleviate discomfort or to help us relax.
24. Pain perception
This one varies widely, with factors like genetics, psychological state, and past experiences influencing how intensely someone experiences pain. Some people might be more pain-resistant than others. This is why you get such mixed reactions when asking if getting a tattoo on a certain area hurts, people have their own scale, there’s no universal measurement tool for it.