This article from the Conversation dives into some interesting research about expanding our senses. Our perceived senses can be trained!
This research reveals that, in the same way we can train to improve skills such as sports or languages, we can train to improve what we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. In a typical sensory training, the trainee is presented with a range of sensory stimuli that vary in how easy they are to perceive. Taking touch as an example, these might be bursts of vibrations on the fingerpads that vary in frequency (how fast they pulse).
But how much can we expect our senses to improve? That largely depends on how long and hard you train, and how effective your training is. It can be substantial: in our studies, touch training has produced improvements of up to about 42% of participants’ original acuity, from just two hours of training. What is surprising is that some studies report enhancements of perception into a range beyond what the sensory receptors should allow – into the “hyperacuity” range.
For example, in vision, people are actually able to see at a finer resolution than the spacing between individual receptors in the eye. You can think about this in the terms of pixels in a photo – the more pixels you have, the more details you can see. In the case of hyperacuity, people can see better than the pixel resolution should permit (with similar findings across the senses, including touch and audition).
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