Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What is the sensitivity and frequency range of each human sense?

  •  Vision: visible light goes from 390nm to 750nm. [1]
  • Hearing: audible range of frequencies is from 20Hz to 20,000 Hz. [2]

  • Touch (somatosensory): This begins to get much more difficult to put in terms of bandwidth.  For touch there are 3 different types, movement, pressure, and chemical/temperature. [3]
  • Movement/Pressure (mechanoreceptor): the main thing for this that you can measure in bandwidth is texture (when you are running your finger over a surface for example).  Texture will cause your skin to feel vibrations the main range for those vibrations are from 50 Hz to 300 Hz.
  • Temperature (thermoreceptor): sensitive across all ranges until the nerves die from either the cold or the heat.
  • Smell (olfaction): Its hard to quantify smell as a bandwidth.  However humans have have about 10 cm2 (1.6 sq in) of olfactory epithelium, whereas some dogs have 170 cm2. [4]

  • Taste (gustatory): Very hard to quantify, there are a variety of different types of tastes. [5]


This was an answer I wrote on Quora.

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