The Uncommon Senses

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Making Sense Of The Senses20170320

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us on a journey into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

The multisensory world is a strange place, once you look at it closely. Heston Blumenthal explains why a drink tastes different depending on which hand you hold it in; Barry Smith takes us on a plane to show how balance effects vision, and shows how the sensory dulling effects of air travel can be altered by tasting spice.

We discover how the senses interact with other constantly in ways that can be surprising and strange. And we try to answer the question: why does everyone agree that lemons are fast, while bananas are slow?

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

02Interoception20170321

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this ten-part series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us on a journey into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

In this episode: Eerie premonitions? A feeling you're being watched? A sudden feeling of unease? Do we really have "sixth senses" for things that are... not of this earth? Maybe we do, but there's nothing supernatural about it. Philosopher Barry Smith explores interoception, the mysterious sense we all and asks why it often feels so spooky. From infrasonic pulses to interoceptive heart-beats, there is more going on in our bodies and minds than you might think.

Producer: Emily Knight.

03The Predictive Brain20170322

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this ten-part series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us on a journey into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

In this episode: The brain has a more pro-active role in sensory perception than you might think. Rather than passively waiting for sensory input, like a blank slate waiting to be written on, the brain is constantly second-guessing what it expects from our senses.

Sometimes, it gets it wrong, and the world becomes a very confusing place.

Producer: Emily Knight.

04Dinnertime: A Multisensory Extravaganza!20170323

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this ten-part series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us on a journey into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

In this episode we introduce the most multisensory experience on earth: Dinnertime!

Food keeps us alive, it makes us happy, it powers everything we do. So it should be no surprise that many of our senses are geared towards helping us find a good meal. With guest Heston Blumenthal, Philosopher Barry Smith delves into all the ways our senses are enhancing or changing the experience of eating, in some very unexpected ways.

Producer: Emily Knight.

05Smell, Emotion And Memory20170324

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this ten-part series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us on a journey into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

Today we explore why smell unlocks the door to such vivid memories and emotions. And we discover that training yourself to improve your sense of smell might be better for ageing brains than crosswords and sudoku.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

06The Magic Of Touch20170327

A journey into the human multi-sensory world. In this episode, Barry Smith explores Touch - the sense that connects us with reality.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

We trust touch to give us an accurate picture of the real world - feeling is believing. But touch is not one sense, it is many, rolled into one. Pain, temperature, a tap on the shoulder, a caress on the arm; all of these require separate detectors on our bodies, and are routed differently to the brain.

Philosopher Barry Smith guides us through our experience of touch, and though the strange condition of mirror-touch synesthesia explores the sensory roots of empathy.

Producer: Becca Bryers.

07The Eyes Have It20170328

A journey into the human multi-sensory experience, with philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan.

In this episode, we dissect the sense which dominates most of our experience, colours our perception of the world, and takes up around a third of the processing power of our brain: Vision.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

Barry Smith asks why our sense of vision is so much more important than the others; or at least, why it often feels that way to us. He explores some visual illusions which demonstrate that seeing is not always believing, and asks whether what we see can influence something so fundamental as who we think we are.

Producer: Emily Knight.

08How To Stand Up20170329

A journey into the human multi-sensory experience, with philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan.

In this episode, we look at the intricacies involved in standing up.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

Barry Smith explores how ballet dancers can whirl around like spinning tops, and why the classic 'drunk driver' test works. And we examine the strange workings of the 3 senses involved in the simple task of getting to our feet: vision, vestibular, and proprioception, and ask what happens when they go wrong.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

09The Sense Of Self20170330

A journey into the human multi-sensory experience, with philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan.

In this episode, we discover two senses you may not have heard of, and ask what that means for our sense of who we are.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

Barry Smith discovers our sense of Ownership - the way we fee our bodies belong to us. He uncovers the sense of Agency - the feeling of being in control. When these two are working as they should, we don't even notice it. But something goes wrong with these two enigmatic senses, extraordinary things happen to one of the most fundamental psychological phenomena we experience: our sense of self. Could it be an illusion?

Producer: Emily Knight.

10Making Sense Of The Future20170331

A journey into the human multi-sensory experience, with philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan.

In this episode, we look at the future of our senses; how science, technology and a plastic fantastic brain can give us more from our senses than ever before.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. In this new series, philosopher Barry Smith and sound artist Nick Ryan take us into the extraordinary world of sensory perception.

Barry Smith gets stuck into the science of 'hacking' our senses - making one sense do the work of another, re-routing the sensory pathways in the brain, and with the help of technology, rebuilding and repairing senses which we thought were damaged beyond repair. He explores the science behind inventions like the 'tactile mattress', to be worn on tongue, which can give sight-like sensation to those with no vision. And he meets the poet and musician Josephine Dickinson, and unravels the story of her journey in and out of deafness, with a cochlear implant.

Producer: Emily Knight.

OMNI1Omnibus, Part 1: The Uncommon Senses20170324

A fantastic journey into the intricate, tangled world of human multi-sensory experience. In this Omnibus edition, hear the first five episodes of the brand new series.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. Philosopher Barry Smith explores how they work, with help from scientists, neurologists, and sound artist Nick Ryan.

We introduce the unfamiliar sense of 'interoception' - could it be responsible ghosts, ghouls and those rising hairs on the back of our necks? We delve into the brain, and find out the ingenious ways it is creating, rather than simply interpreting, our sensory world. We pull up a chair at one of the most multisensory experiences it is possible to have - one that we do every day in fact - lunchtime. Not forgetting to draw a deep, deep, healing breath, while finding out how olfaction, or the sense of smell, can have startling effects on our emotions and memories.

Produced by Emily Knight, Melvin Rickarby, and Becca Bryers.

OMNI2Omnibus, Part 2: The Uncommon Senses20170331

A fantastic journey into the intricate, tangled world of human multi-sensory experience. In this Omnibus edition, hear the last five episodes of the brand new series.

For thousands of years people thought we had 5 senses, now it's believed we have up to 33. Philosopher Barry Smith explores how they work, with help from scientists, neurologists, and sound artist Nick Ryan.

We explore the magic of touch, and find out it's actually many senses rolled into one. We delve into visual illusions, and wonder why our two small eyes seem to dictate so much about our perception of the world. We stand up, and wonder how we managed it, and introduce the perhaps unfamiliar senses of 'equilibrioception' and 'proprioception' which keep us on our feet. We uncover the enigmatic twin senses of Agency and Ownership - the senses keeping us in control of our bodies, and look at the extraordinary effect they have on one of the most fundamental psychological phenomena we experience: our sense of self. Could it be an illusion? And we take a trip into the future, finding out how science, technology and a plastic fantastic brain can give us more from our senses than ever before.

Produced by Emily Knight, Melvin Rickarby and Becca Bryers.