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Mystery of the Senses—Touch

Program Overview

Why do some people crave chocolate? Why does music make some people cry at the movies? How did kissing begin? Mystery of the Senses, a five-part NOVA special airing over four consecutive nights, seeks answers to these and other questions as it explores the complexities of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and vision. In this exploration, series host and naturalist Diane Ackerman travels around the world to investigate the science, history, and cultural values that influence our senses.

Note: This program contains adult subject matter, particularly in sections near the beginning and the end of the broadcast. We advise you to preview the program and select the most appropriate sections for your students to watch.

Touch contributes dramatically to our feeling of well-being. In this episode, Ackerman explores how touching and being touched promotes physical and psychological growth in young monkeys and humans. She also explores human responses to touch in massage, relationships, and art; and cultural perspectives on touch in social taboos, hugging, and kissing. To explain our biological responses, series host and naturalist Diane Ackerman introduces a scientist who has identified how the brain's sensory map operates. His research has led to the groundbreaking discovery that even if a person loses a limb, the brain will respond as if that limb is being touched.

Teacher's Guide
Mystery of the Senses—Touch

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