See Inside Scientific American Volume 308, Issue 1

The Multisensory Revolution: Why Your Brain Is a Sensory Smoothie

Our many different senses collaborate even more than previously realized. What we hear depends a lot on what we see and feel

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In the late 1970s the fbi hired sue thomas, along with eight other deaf individuals, to analyze fingerprint patterns. Deaf people, the agency reasoned, might have an easier time staying focused during the notoriously meticulous task. From the first day, however, Thomas found the job unbearably monotonous. She complained to her superiors so often that she was prepared to walk away unemployed when her boss summoned her to a meeting with other agents in his office.

But Thomas was not fired—she was, in a sense, promoted. The agents showed her a silent video of two criminal suspects conversing and asked her to decipher their conversation.

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