Lecture 1 – Sense and sensitivity

Senses are one of the most important things that humans possess. From sight and smell, taste and touch, to temperature, pain and balance, our perception of stimuli around us is crucial to our survival.

In the first of her lectures, Nancy Rothwell reveals how we are endowed with a multitude of sensors that help us regulate our bodies. This process of regulation – known as 'homeostasis' – is sensitive to even the slightest change in our environment. How we respond to these changes determines how well we fare in different situations.

Nancy puts her own blood under the microscope to show the cells keeping her body in balance. Plus, Olympic champion Chris Boardman gets back on a bike to demonstrate the effect of exercise on our brain and blood. 

Humans are not the only living organisms to have senses. With help from some furry friends, Nancy explains how the similar sensitivities of creatures throughout the animal kingdom have evolved to help them stay alive. Sometimes these senses can help more than the animal in question, proving useful to humans as well as sniffer dog Buddy shows us.  

Topics

Being human

Year

1998

Lecturer

Dame Nancy Rothwell

Duration

58:50

All lectures in the series