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Writers are often told to “use sensory detail” in their writing—to include visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile information in our prose and poetry. But experimental psychologists actually recognize dozens of different types of human perception. They range from pain and muscular tension to compass position and the emotional state of a group. We’ll explore a couple dozen of these “perceptics” and learn how they can give our readers a deeper sense of “being there.”
Wendy Call is a recent writer-in-residence at a dozen locales, including national parks, universities, a public hospital, and Richard Hugo House. Her 2011 book No Word for Welcome won the 2011 Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction.
Photo by Brian Weiss