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Why You Can’t Smell Yourself (and Other Ways Your Senses Lie to You)

Apr 16, 2024
When you press the button and the sensation of the light hitting

your

eyes, it actually hits the brain at slightly different times because different parts of the nervous system move at different speeds.  But

your

brain is constantly doing these cool sensory motor feedback tests. You know that when you are the one doing something, all your

senses

must be in sync with that action. When you press the button, your brain says: I'm going to adjust the timing of all these signals that come to my brain at different times so that the light reaching my eyes and the sensation in my finger are synchronized because that's what I expect. it should happen.  But then the researchers make a small adjustment and the flash goes off one hundred milliseconds after the button is pressed.
why you can t smell yourself and other ways your senses lie to you
What does your brain do?  Adjust your perception of time so that you still feel the light turn on right when you press the button, even though there is a 100 millisecond delay, adjust your

senses

and perception to make these unsynchronized things match up. And it gets stranger. Finally, once you've adjusted to that 100 millisecond delay, they'll remove it and the light will resynchronize when the button is pressed. And what people say is that they see the flash before the push.  Cause and effect are completely reversed thanks to sensory adaptation.  And then, of course, there is the

smell

. Each of the stacks of odor molecules you're able to detect fits into a specific olfactory sensory receptor, just like a key fits into a lock.
why you can t smell yourself and other ways your senses lie to you

More Interesting Facts About,

why you can t smell yourself and other ways your senses lie to you...

And these olfactory receptors activating alone or in combination is what gives the brain the perception of a particular

smell

.  But if you're close to a smell for a few minutes, those olfactory sensory cells tune in and stop activating. They stop sending signals to your brain. Because, again, what your body craves is new stimuli. You want to turn down the volume to whatever the basic background level is so you can detect something new when it arrives. That's why when you cook bacon or some delicious Indian food, those wonderful smells are so intense for a few minutes, but then they fade away.
why you can t smell yourself and other ways your senses lie to you
But if a friend walks into your house, he's like, wow, what are you eating? It smells delicious? That's why you can't smell your own house, although he definitely has a smell.  And that's why you can't smell

yourself

.  Although you definitely have a natural smell too.  It's the same if you wear perfume or if you smoke. You can't smell it.  But literally everyone around you can do it, at least for a few minutes. You disconnect from all these sensory experiences all the time.  These are examples of adaptation in only some of your senses, but literally every sensory system in your body does this in some way.  And more often than you think.
why you can t smell yourself and other ways your senses lie to you
Sensory adaptation makes you less sensitive to constant stimulation, which may seem like a bad thing.  But this actually provides a benefit. You are free to focus on changes in your environment while ignoring all background noise.  Without it, you would be absolutely overwhelmed. In fact, many people with sensory processing disorders have trouble tuning their senses to keep the volume down to a tolerable level.  Our sensory systems constantly crave the new and interesting.  They get bored with repetition. They disconnect it so they can wait for something important to happen.  That's why YouTubers use jump cuts in their videos to keep your attention and give you constant updates.
Okay guys, let's tone it down a little. We get it, okay?  This is a good reminder that what you feel is only a fraction of what is in the world around you.  And what you perceive is only a fraction of what is possible.  At least your brain is trying to focus on what's important, even if it doesn't al

ways

do it perfectly. Stay curious. Hello friends. Thank you very much for staying. And as al

ways

, I want to give a huge, special thank you to everyone who supports the show on Patreon. You know what makes a lot of SENSE?
You can support this program and help us continue making videos like this. You can check it out at the link in the description, where you can learn more about everything we have to offer, go behind the scenes, see what we're working on, get early access to videos, and much more. See you in the next video and. . Has been . . . It has been great. Bye bye. How do polar bears do this? I don't know. This is very cold. Well . . . action.

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