Spotlight on our senses
Smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch – our senses are the key to how we perceive the world around us. But there are more senses than the five you learned in school. Proprioception allows us to know where our body parts are and without the sense of balance we would topple over quite quickly. Here we explore how our senses work and what happens when they fail or are deceived by illusions.
Synesthesia: A colourful ability
What does the colour red sound like? Only someone with synesthesia can hear it. Now researchers are learning more about the ability to make unusual sensual connections.
A nose for good taste
The nose is an expert in telling good from bad. Now researchers are trying to use the power of smell to detect the worst of the worst of the bad - diseases.
The language of the eyes
You can drown in someone's eyes, or they might burn a hole right through you. The gaze is a shortcut to people's inner world, something researchers try to exploit to learn more about, for example, autism. Read an in-depth article about the language of the eyes from our popular science magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap.
Hearing loss — easy to prevent but hard to cure
One billion young people risk hearing loss in the future if they continue to listen to their headphones at too high a volume. To develop treatments, researchers need to solve the mysteries of the cochlea - well hidden in the inner ear, a pea-sized organ embedded in bone a few centimeters inside the outer ear.
They see the power of music
Music can be used as therapy, a path to emotional awareness or as a powerful research tool. Meet three researchers with different doorways into the world of music.
New knowledge on tinnitus gives hope
Tinnitus is a phantom sound that can be very stressful and reduce the quality of life for the sufferer. Effective treatment methods are lacking, but new research gives hope for the future.
Why can't you tickle yourself?
The answer to this question is not just interesting to know. It also offers clues to the mechanisms behind schizophrenia, explains Konstantina Kilteni, researcher at the department of neuroscience.
Sense of smell is our most rapid warning system
The ability to detect and react to the smell of a potential threat is a precondition of our and other mammals’ survival. Using a novel technique, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have been able to study what happens in the brain when the central nervous system judges a smell to represent danger.
People around the world like the same kinds of smell
What smells we like or dislike is primarily determined by the structure of the particular odour molecule. A collaborative study involving researchers from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and the University of Oxford, UK, shows that people share odour preferences regardless of cultural background.
Blind people sense their heartbeats better than sighted
Blind people are better at sensing their own heartbeats than sighted, shows a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Jagiellonian University in Poland. The study indicates that blindness leads to a heightened ability in feeling signals from the inner body. The findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Awareness of one’s own body is based on uncertainty and guesses
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found that the perception of one's own body is largely based on the brain making guesses based on probability theory. The results are shown in a study recently published in the journal eLife.
Immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth improves survival of pre-term babies
Continuous skin-to-skin contact starting immediately after delivery even before the baby has been stabilised can reduce mortality by 25 per cent in infants with a very low birth weight. This according to a study in low- and middle-income countries coordinated by the WHO on the initiative of researchers at Karolinska Institutet published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Unexpected mechanism behind chronic nerve pain
Pain causes suffering and leads to great costs for society. In an article in Science, researchers at Karolinska Institutet present a new sensory organ in the skin that detects dangerous stimuli from the environment.
A new look at our “sixth sense”, the sensory link between our movement and motor control
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have revealed a large diversity of proprioceptive neurons and unveiled a new type of plasticity suggesting neuronal individuality in the nervous system to adapt its performance to changing environment. The article was recently published in Nature Communications.