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Top PI Barry Smith: Starting an interdisciplinary centre

Barry Smith is the founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses (CenSes). Lindsay McKenzie quizzed him on how we perceive the world and linking philosophers with neuroscientists.

It was an interest in wine that first gave Barry Smith the idea of putting philosophers and neuroscientists together to study the senses. As an amateur wine writer and a philosopher, Smith says he thought that as he was telling people how wines taste, he had “better find out how this taste thing actually works”.

The answer was more complicated than he could have anticipated. “Taste is actually an amalgamation of senses working together,” says Smith. “I learned that is pretty much the rule with senses, rather than the exception. The senses are much more interactive with one another than we realise—that was a big lesson.”

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