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Publisher's Summary

Why is it that we react to the world the way we do, not only in ways similar to other people, but in ways often dramatically different, as well, no matter which of our senses is involved? And how is it that the physically adventurous young person you remember being - whose greatest passion was riding the scariest roller coaster imaginable - somehow grew into an adult whose stomach begins to churn nervously at even the thought of such a ride? The answer, of course, is that each of us - whether a different person or a more recent model of ourselves - isn't reacting to the same world at all. For though the physical world we occupy may be identical, the reality we experience is very different.
The truth is, our various sensory systems can be altered over time, their acuity changing in response to aging or injury, life experiences, evolving personalities, and other factors. And in this series of 24 fascinating lectures, an acclaimed teacher and psychologist gives you a bio-psychological perspective on both the way we humans navigate and react to the world around us and an understanding of the ways in which that process is ever-changing.
Rich in science, potent examples, and anecdotes, the lectures explore subjects like how we see, hear, smell, taste, or touch; keep our balance, and understand exactly where we are in space. You'll learn about motor memory, the ways in which our bodies process pain, and even why our taste in food changes over time.
Whether exploring the complex structures of the brain or inner ear, or using humorous personal stories to illustrate a point, Professor Colavita delivers a course that informs, entertains, and even prepares us for the changes that lie ahead.
©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Douglas on 09-17-13

Another Excellent Selection...

of lecture series in the Great Courses collection! In the past month and a half, I have listened to a dozen Great Courses lecture series on the brain, perception, sleep and memory (see my other reviews here), and I have to first say that the information in these series have dovetailed wonderfully well, and, taken together, provide a broad picture of our mental workings and the physicality behind it all. Francis Colavita's Sensation, Perception And The Aging Process provides a great follow-up to everything I have listened to in this vein thus far. Colavita develops the course thusly: 1) he discusses in depth what perception is and how our senses work to collect data from outside stimuli 2) he explores how the brain processes these perceived stimuli to make sense (pun intended) of the world and shape our internal reality 3) then he shows how the aging process affects these processes. My graduate and undergraduate degrees are in the Humanities, but I have a minor degree in physiological psychology and have spent more than a quarter of a century doing research in the developing arenas of neurological psychology, and I can assure any Audible customer that the information provided in these lecture series is remarkably up-to-date, correct and scientifically sound. I am exceedingly impressed with the level of university lecturers that deliver these lectures and the quality and educative value of each and every one.

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26 of 27 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 12-31-13

Excellent overview of science related to the sense

Any additional comments?

I'm a scientist (also a Great Professor contributor) who will be moving into a new position that involves the study of aging. My primary motivation was to understand how the senses change in advanced age. This isn't the primary motivation of this lecture - it seems that the aging aspect was added as a sideline at the end of topics to please the target audience. I did learn a lot that I didn't know about the senses and the professor is engaging and knowledgeable. Just don't expect an in-depth analysis of how our senses change in old age.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By evewarren on 10-08-15

Great for revision whilst studying psychology.

These lectures are just the right length and give enough details to keep your interest.

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2 out of 5 stars
By Jumpin' Bean on 07-17-15


I work with older people and bought this thinking I would learn something of how ageing would affect the perception of the world. I didn't learn much about that. This is a lecture series the chap regularly has delivered on the senses and at the very end of each section there is perhaps a minute or so on how older people might particularly lose ability. Also I am afraid there were too many references to animal experimentation for my taste.

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