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5. Integrating: Hacks 53–61 > 57. Combine Modalities to Increase Intensity

Combine Modalities to Increase Intensity

Events that affect more than one sense feel more intense in both of them.

The vision and audition chapters (Chapter 2 and Chapter 4, respectively) of this book look at the senses individually, just as a lot of psychologists have over the years. But interesting things begin to happen when you look at the senses as they interact with one another. 1

Multisensory information is the norm in the real world, after all. Tigers smell strong and rustle as they creep through the undergrowth toward you. Fire shines and crackles as it burns. Your child says your name as she shakes your shoulder to wake you up.

These examples all suggest that the most basic kind of interaction between two senses should be the enhanced response to an event that generates two kinds of stimulation rather than just one. Information from one sense is more likely to be coincidence; simultaneous information on two senses is a good clue that you have detected a real event.


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