How People's Senses Are Different

Some people have better senses of taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell than others.

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Humans have five senses—namely sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. Though people may share these senses, research has shown that women have greater sensitivities across all the senses. Learn more about the fascinating ways men and women differ in their perception of the five senses.

Editor's Note: Health recognizes that not everyone who is female was born with female reproductive organs and that not everyone who is male was born with male reproductive organs. Health also recognizes that people may not identify as any one sex or gender. The information in this article is based on how researchers present their results, and the gender- and sex-based language used most accurately reflects their research design and outcomes.


When it comes to seeing different colors, research found that female participants were more precise with color choice—particularly with greens and blues.

In addition, men are far more likely to have some form of color blindness—a pigment problem that makes it difficult to distinguish between colors. The disorder usually has a genetic component.

Research also found that male participants outperformed female participants in visual perception tasks. These were tasks geared toward vision, such as reaction time, picking out moving objects, and visual sharpness.


Women have a better sense of touch, or tactile acuity, compared to men. They can also have better tactile perception, or changes in touch during movement. The sex differences with tactile perception begin to even out when women reach 40 years old, according to a small study.

Research has suggested the reason is due to physical differences. Women tend to have smaller fingers than men. However, just having smaller fingers in general—regardless of sex or gender—increases a person's sense of touch.


Men experience a faster decline in hearing compared to women, especially when it comes to higher frequencies. Research has also suggested there's a stronger sex difference in regard to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Men typically work in occupations where noise is higher, and occupations are responsible for 2% to 3% of hearing loss cases. However, researchers have said that this difference may be due to more NIHL studies that include men as the only participants.


Scientists have long known that women tend to outperform men on tests identifying scents, but one study offered a potential biological explanation.

The study found that post-mortem female brains had, on average, 43% more cells and almost 50% more neurons in their olfactory centers—the part dedicated to smelling and odors—than male brains.

The authors couldn't be sure these extra cells are responsible for greater smelling ability, but they say it's a good guess. From an evolutionary perspective, an enhanced sense of smell may have helped women choose mates for reproductive purposes.


Considering how closely smell and taste are related, it's unsurprising that women can have more sensitive palates than men.

Women have more taste buds on their tongues and can determine the difference between basic types of taste. Researchers suggested a possible survival need for this—figuring out which foods were dangerous, spoiled, or poisonous for them or their children to eat.

Also of note: Females of childbearing age taste flavors more intensely than younger or older females. Their tasting ability can change with pregnancy status as well. Pregnant people may also notice increased sensitivity during pregnancy.

A Quick Review

People experience five senses, but they do so differently. Research shows that women have better hearing, smelling, and tasting senses. They have distinguished colors better, while men have done better on visual perception tasks. Also, men and women can sometimes have equal touch sensitivities, depending on age and the size of their fingers.

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