The most important human sense?



Though vision would be a close second for me.



Vision is the one that most often inconveniences people by reason of its loss, but that might only be because it’s the easiest to lose; loss of sensation in your skin might actually be more detrimental to your health and indeed survival, because you wouldn’t so readily know when parts of you were being crushed, burned or cut, you wouldn’t know whether you were gripping a heavy object firmly enough to keep from dropping it on yourself, you would ‘lose track’ of where your limbs were positioned, leading to potential injury etc.

So I think that loss of tactile sensation might well be worse, from a purely objective POV, than loss of sight; it’s just not something that people worry about (at least not as much as they worry about going blind), because there are less ways for it to realistically happen.

I agree with Mangetout, most people just take touch for granted. I saw people rank it alarmingly low in that other thread about losing senses but I’d say it’s the most important. I saw this article once about this kid born without pain sensors (and this is just pain we’re talking about; she could still feel other types of touch). She was 5 years old and already blind in one eye because of cataracts caused by long-term use of medication to heal scratches on her corneas, which she got from continuously jabbing her fingers into her eyes (:eek:) without realising that it was bad for her. Mentioned in the same article was another girl who had to have her hand amputated because she burned it. By putting it on a lit burner and leaving it there. Her mother didn’t notice until she smelled burning flesh. I think I would rather lose my sight than have to put up with that.

Heheh… good one.

Mangetout has convinced me, I vote for “touch.”

But touch is actually several distinct senses–hot, cold, pain, pressure, vibration, hair movement, and in a way proprioception. As previous posters have said, loss of the sense of pain is a serious medical problem. People who have lost proprioception are okay as long as they watch themselves (literally), but when they stop watching, arms and legs go in all directions. I guess that the people with complete alopecia don’t have hair-movement sensation, and I haven’t heard of them having any particular problems because of it, but… I wonder what would happen to a person who couldn’t sense pressure?

Isn’t sight composed of different colors, the ability to measure distance/dimensions, and so on? It seems like both “touch” and “sight” are shorthand words for complex concepts.



The great Helen Keller said she’d want her sense of hearing, if she had a choice.


I learned in a special ed. class that hearing is the sense that’s most difficult to adapt to losing - contrary to most people’s belief that vision would be. It’s because a non-hearing person is excluded from ambient sounds and social conversation (in most cases), and must be vigilant all the time with other senses.

I’m especiallly visual and can’t imagine not having that sense.

If you couldn’t feel things you couldn’t have an orgasm, right? That might seal the deal.

Common. The one least used.

Wow, do you write your jokes yourself?


I’ll go with the all-inclusive one: smell

My mom told me that when you lose your ability to smell, you lose all of your sense.


Well, actually, your sense of balance isn’t just one sense. There’s a cluster of sensory inputs that come together to make your sense of balance.

Without your balance, you can’t really do anything. People who have serious problems the the vestibular nerves in their ears are stuck lying down, puking from constant seasickness, with their eyes closed. Lack of a sense of balance is a serious disability that your brain never really learns to compensate for in many cases.

The sensation of knowing you have to take a dump.

Well, if you couple it with losing the sense of smell, I guess it’s not bad on you. . .but your friends might not enjoy it.