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Vampires are often depicted as having enhanced senses all around: they can hear their preys heartbeats, smell blood and approaching people from miles away, see in complete darkness, pretty much tell who you are and maybe your lineage from the taste of your blood, "smell fear" or tell if someone is lying because unconscious body reactions and why not, etc... But I don't recall any fiction that dives in the implications of this abilities other them vague and obvious stuff such as "yes yes, I knew you were coming before you enter my estate".

This leads to the question, how super senses will shape their social norms and interactions? I am not focusing on vampires though, nor in special individuals, but a general specie/society where this general level of heightened senses is the norm. My only thought so far is that privacy is probably non-existent and lying will always get you caught, since they might overhear I chat from two blocks away and can tell if someone is lying.

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    $\begingroup$ They will certainly NOT live in urban environments. It would be sensory overload. Can you imagine what it would be like in a downtown city at rush hour? Their senses would be screaming. Dracula was a rural story for a reason. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2022 at 14:44
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    $\begingroup$ What is the degree of control that vampires have over their senses? How strong is sensory fatigue? Are there some instinctive reactions to specific stimuli? $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Jan 16, 2022 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ Does everybody have super senses? Because if so, they most likely won't hold a conversation at a volume that can be overheard two blocks away. Imagine this happening in the real world - that's the equivalent of two people SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER even though they don't have to. Likely the people holding the conversation would be more considerate. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Jan 17, 2022 at 7:18

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Society will adapt to heightened senses

If one person can overhear chat from two blocks away, then the persons chatting will chat with such lower volumes (because their senses are also heightened) that the person will be not able to hear from two blocks away. So liars will keep lying.

If the senses of all the persons in the society are heightened, the society will learn or devise new methods to keep their secrets. In this way, society will reach to some other norms but things will keep going as they are now.

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    $\begingroup$ It is also a thing, that the brain automatically tunes out stimuli. The most visible examples are with smells and sounds. Smells will be tuned out after sufficient exposure, until they are barely noticeable. The same for sounds. As a personal example, I used to live two blocks from a zoo and people would be startled by, for example, a lion's roar or baffled by the smell, but we could no longer perceive those. The same with living near to where trains pass. $\endgroup$
    – Stivsko
    Jan 16, 2022 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Stivsko Very true. My aunt had a very loud standing clock. People visiting her occasionally complained that they can't sleep well because of it. I was visiting her every year in summer and stayed up to a month and after years I just could't hear it unless I was actually staring at the clock waiting for it to start ringing hour. $\endgroup$
    – Archelaos
    Jan 17, 2022 at 23:03
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it wouldn't fondamentaly change the fabric of society.

"the death of privacy"

Well, if you live long enough in a flat, you will realise that even without eighten sence your upstair neighbour fuck loud while doing home renovation in high heel while they party... but most of the time you don't give them slack for it, as it's understood that you tolerate the noise they make as long as they are not anal about it, you won't knock on their door to say all the thing you ear.

same thing, it's not hard to eavesdrop on people at a cafe or a restaurant.

the main change i would see is that people would tend to be more quiet and the isolation in appartment would be of much greater quality, and car might much less prevalent to keep the noise pollution lower.

and crime wouldn't decrease by much. sure, policemen might need less ressources to bug your place, but it wouldn't help by much all and all.

On the lying.

i think it's where shit get interesting.

in our society, even without super sence, we can often sence somebody lying, but it is understood that sometime a lie is preferable to the truth and you won't push the person on it. for a quick example, even if you know somebody is not doing fine but tell you they are doing so, you shouldn't for them to disclose everything

But their, as it is nigh impossible for people to lie, saying "i wont answer" could be a genuinly valid response and considered rude to press somebody on that matter, or as we do today, obviously lie as a way to say "dude, don't press me on this"

the ability to detect lie isnt the ability to know the truth.

being a good lier would on the other hand be a great asset but highly frown upon, as only a few individual can actually pull that off. being a known lier would definitly burn a lot of relationship as people are wary about the fact that you can just say thing freely that are false, and people would be naturally drawn to beliving you on their habit to detect such thing. but for some kind of job, like police or inteligence it would be

in conclusion

I think what would mostly change would be the courtesy rule, to accomodate to those sence, but it wouldn't transform society. people would in general try to not abuse those "power" even if normal, as they don't want to be under active scrutiny

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Privacy should not be non-existent. The ability to mask yourself from super senses should grow along with the super senses. After all, rationality in humans is a super sense compared to all other animals, but we can still lie to each other, and defraud each other, we just have to make sure our story makes rational sense.

We don't have a great olfactory sense, but we can smell some things. So we invented frequent showers, high air circulation and deodorants to mask our odors. A super sense of smell might be useless in society, because the people inventing deodorants have it too, and will tinker until they something that works despite a super sense of smell.

The same thing for eyesight. If a woman has super eyesight, then she will apply makeup that makes her look good in her own eyes, literally. Same for an artist.

In many cases you just raise the playing field, but it is still just as level a playing field as we have today.

That said, super senses reveals information about others that doesn't have to be told. Reading body language and micro-expressions may tell even a stranger's state of mind without having to be told, resulting (I hope) in greater empathy and less need to be told what they are feeling. (But they are aware of this too, and might be faking it.)

So conversations may seem shorter, quicker and more abrupt. I know what you are feeling, you know what I am feeling. When I ask a question, I can tell as soon as you comprehend it how you feel about answering it, and vice versa, which means I am already thinking in the right direction before you finish answering.

But otherwise, I don't think a group with super senses will behave too much differently than a group without them. If the former observed the latter, their main question might be "Why do they ask questions when the answers are obvious, and why do they keep telling people personal things that are so obvious? Why do they waste so much time? Is it some sort of a social convention?"

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    $\begingroup$ Frequent showers, high air circulation, and deodorants are results of modern sensibilities, which are speculated to be the result of advertising rather than anything else. Olfactory fatigue is very real and it does not take long to stop noticing a lot of smells and odours after being exposed to them for a while. Other senses are no different. People learn to ignore certain stimuli that do not carry any important information. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Jan 16, 2022 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Otkin Perhaps, but if olfaction revealed information about us that a large majority would prefer were secret, then we'd likely develop a deodorant to mask it. For example, disease, or menstruation. And I will add that there is a reason besides "marketing" that a super majority of people do shower and deodorize. We don't like stink. In fact that is an evolved response, not a learned response, stink is associated with disease, waste, rot, etc. And just like cats, keeping one's self clean and odor free is an advantage in stealth hunting. $\endgroup$
    – Amadeus
    Jan 17, 2022 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ I am sorry to say it but I think you really need to check your facts. Menstruation does not cause excessive odour unless there is a huge problem. Normally, there is very little actual blood (on average it is only 2-3 tablespoons of blood per cycle) and it does not smell much different from the body. You may be an exceptional person with an extremely developed sense of smell, however, this is not the norm. The absolute majority of people are unable to smell when women are menstruating. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Otkin You do realize this question is specifically about super senses, don't you? Dogs can easily distinguish between menstruating and non-menstruating women. Heck, they can reliably tell the difference between a few cancer cells and normal cells; seriously. They can reliably detect Covid in people's sweat even when the people don't know they have it. A dog can sniff out the foot prints on concrete and track the path another dog an hour after the other dog made that path. And yes, they can smell menstruation even through pads or absorbed by a tampon or both. $\endgroup$
    – Amadeus
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ There is no need to be so agitated. I was indeed a little bit confused whether you were talking about humans like us or beings with super senses. Your wording is somewhat unclear in your comment. If I misunderstood you, I apologise. It still does not change the fact that you seem to be overestimating the value of your own cultural sensibilities. At this point, I am also not sure if you are talking about frequent showers and deodorants (which I commented about originally) or more general cleanliness. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Jan 18, 2022 at 3:49

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