Sensational : A New Story of our Senses


Sensational : A New Story of our Senses Author: Format: Paperback First Published: Published By: Profile Books Ltd
string(3) "320"
Pages: 320 ISBN: 9781788168878 Categories: , Tag:


Our senses are how we navigate the world: they help us recognise the expressions on a loved one’s face, know whether fruit is ripe by its smell, or even sense a storm approaching through a sudden drop in air pressure. It’s now believed that we may have as many as fifty-three senses – and we’re just beginning to expand our knowledge of this incredibly extensive palette. Sensational is a mind-bending look at how our brains shape our experience of the world, marshalling the latest discoveries in science to explore the dazzling eyesight of the mantis shrimp, the rich inner lives of krill, and the baffling link between geomagnetic fields and canine bowel movements. Blending biology and neuroscience, Ward reveals that understanding our senses may hold the key to understanding the origins of human behaviour – from why we kiss to our varied music tastes.


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  • [An] infectiously enthusiastic survey of the human senses ... underneath the entertainment this is a serious and thoughtful book -- James McConnachie * Sunday Times *
  • A rollercoaster combination of science, cultural history, rumour and schoolboy humour * Guardian *
  • Combining biological science with history, culture, sociology and personal reflections, this is a wide-ranging and highly engaging read * Observer *
  • Enlightening and digestible ... Sensational is not only a rich mine of information, it teaches tolerance and understanding ... Listening to his book is a delight * The Times *
  • Ward has conjured up a thrilling - and revolting - world of sensory overload in the style of a goofy lecture. Both learned and irreverent, he can be existentially disturbing and extremely funny in the same paragraph - a talent that could make this a future classic of popular science * Mail on Sunday *
  • A dazzling account of how we use sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to navigate the world * Financial Times *
  • Ward is more than qualified as our tour guide into the dazzling world of senses - both our own and those of other animals ... an impressive journey -- BBC Wildlife
  • Enjoyable popular science * Kirkus *
  • [An] eye-opening pop-science treatise ... [Ward] packs in innumerable fascinating details ... the delivery benefits greatly from the author's stylish, evocative prose ... this will change how readers see the world * Publisher's Weekly *
  • Absorbing, surprising and at times profound. After reading this, reality will never be quite the same -- Prof Dave Goulson, author * Silent Earth *
  • It is nearly impossible to grasp what other animals smell, see, or feel. Ashley Ward's dive into the way we and other species interpret the surrounding world offers astonishing insights -- Frans de Waal, author * Different: Gender Through The Eyes of a Primatologist *

Author Biography

A born-and-bred Yorkshireman, Ashley Ward is the author of The Social Lives of Animals and is a professor in Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney, where he specialises in the sensory behaviour of animals. His career has taken him around the world, from studying krill in Antarctica to sampling sensory deprivation tanks in Australia. He has published over 100 scientific journal articles and a highly cited academic book, Sociality. He is also the author of the bestselling audiobook, Animal Societies. In addition to his professional accolades, he has 4:20 vision and no sense of smell or taste.