The scent of flowers filling the streets, the smell of rain on the soil, and the strong smell of coffee wafting through the streets… We seem to have lost a sense of smell in the era of COVID-19. It is not easy to smell something because of the face mask we wear every day. We can still see things with eyes and hear things with ears, to be sure, but cannot fully feel the world. There were not times when we realized how important the five senses are to human beings like today.
The author, who is the head of the Crossmodal Research group at the University of Oxford, has summarized the process of how human beings accept various senses. I started reading the book because it introduces knowledge useful in everyday life based on scientific knowledge and experiments. The author shares tips on how to work more effectively and live happily by changing the environment.
According to the author, it is best not to have television and lights in the bedroom. Those exposed to artificial lights weighed 5 kilograms more on average than those who were not. This was because artificial lights disrupt natural body clock and break the balance, according to a 2019 study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of 43,000 people aged between 35 and 74 for five years. The author pointed out that not only television and lights but smartphone produce similar results.
Senses also have a huge impact on happiness. For example, many companies are developing products that help the elderly overcome ‘sensory deficit.’ People think that the elderly would suffer the most from loss of sight or hearing, but what they need the most is a sense of touch they feel from touching others’ skin. This explains the emergence of “hug experts,” who are paid to hug people based on the idea that hugging relives stress.
The author says everyone experiences ‘sensory deficit’ in the era of COVID-19. Video calls, which only satisfy visual and auditory senses, are not enough to meet the human needs for various senses. Although the author introduces the latest machines that can complement the senses, but it seems they are still not enough to replace all the senses. We, humans, have no choice but to wait for the day, when we can walk the streets mask-free and shake hands without hesitation with someone we just met.