most sensitive sense in humans?

Just Wondering lroman at
Fri Oct 8 11:31:01 EST 1999


Thanks for your answer.  I got a reply to my email address that suggested that sense of
smell was the most sensitive since it didn't get filtered through the thalamus before going
to the cortex.  This was also my totally unsupported, "gut reflex" answer to the question.
What do you think of this?


Kalman Rubinson wrote:

> Linda J. Roman (roman at wrote:
> > Which of the five  would you say is the most sensitive sense in the
> > average human?  I don't have any specific comparative criteria in mind
> > -- obviously they are all measured in very different ways and maybe a
> > comparison cannot be made, but I was just curious.
> Difficult to determine since, as you say, each is measured in a different way.  What is
> the energy required to bind molecules to olfactory or gustatory receptors?
> If you consider the threshold for perception of the lowest amount of externally applied
> energy, I would guess vision since one is, at least statistically, capable of detecting
> the reception of a single photon. Audition might come close as the threshold at 1KHz is
> about .0002 dynes/cm2.
> Can't imagine the tactile senses coming close.
> Kal

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list