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17 September 2014
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Human Senses TV Programmes

BODY HITS - Sensory Overload

Thursday 17 July 2003, 9-9.30pm, BBC Three

Although we use them all the time, do we really know what our human senses do and how they work?

John Marsden
Presenter Dr John Marsden follows four people with finely tuned senses

BODY HITS rigorously probes four very different members of the public and presenter Dr John Marsden, in a series of carefully designed challenges. We see how they react when their senses are completely stripped away.

Super tea-taster

At just 29, Tresham Graham is one of the UK's youngest professional tea-tasters. He thinks his skills lie in having a great tongue. So we take him to the University of Cardiff's School of Biological Sciences and check out his taste buds to discover if he's a genetic 'supertaster'. But we prove that without his sense of smell, Tresham would be out of a job. An EEG scan of his brain reveals that it's his sense of smell that really does the tasting.

Artist's vision

Mark Gilbert, 27, is a professional artist. He perceives the world so accurately that some of his pictures can be confused with photographs, but he has no idea why. Imperial College of London's department of computing has developed a device that can answer this question. This 'EyeTracker' follows the movement of eyes so accurately that it can tell whether the person wearing it is an artist or not.

Magic touch

Georgious Tzenchristos, a 32-year-old masseur, has trained his sense of touch way beyond what most of us would ever experience. He doesn't just use his hands, he uses his elbows, legs, feet and toes, too. Georgious claims to be able to stop pain in his clients simply by stroking them in a special way. So what's really happening inside their body and does massage really work?

Smell of caviar

Natalie Rebeiz-Nielsen deals in caviar, but this is not just any old caviar, Almas Caviar is one of the most expensive foods on the planet. She invites John to join her as she explains how important her sense of smell is, and opens a tin of the very best caviar for the occasion.

John finally joins Tresham, Mark, Georgious and Natalie as we enclose them in a sensory deprivation tank for an hour. Weightless and with no sense of touch, vision, hearing, taste or smell how do they all react? You'll have to watch to find out.

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