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How Our Senses Work Together to Keep Us Sane

Have you ever taken a moment to consider the incredible orchestra of sensory integration that happens constantly in conscious life?  Without this integration of our senses, the world would be a barrage of overstimulation – and reality would be very disorienting. 

In this episode of Two Guys on Your HeadDr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explore the intricacies of the incredible sensory-processing systems that create cohesion for the world around us.

Just consider this hypothetical example:

You’re in a crowded room, trying to have a conversation, while music, noise and other extraneous interference wails away in the background. In order to determine an actionable response to the person you're talking to, your brain has to filter and isolate just the information that is pertinent to you.  

Your amazing brain integrates sight and sound, plus many other senses, in order to form a clear picture of what the other person is trying to communicate to you.  You might lose parts of what's said in the midst of so much interference, but when you can see the person talking, you’re able to put together a full picture of what’s said – even if you didn’t hear it all clearly.

None of our senses are independent. They’re all integrated in our brain. Through thousands of years of evolution, our brains have developed ways to compensate and fill in the sensory input gaps where needed with educated guesses –instantaneous statistical analysis of what might be happening around us. 

Your brain acts like the conductor, coordinating our sensory systems and directing the symphony of sensory perception that we call reality.  

Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.