•   
  •   

Tech & ScienceWhy your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane

20:05  19 june  2019
20:05  19 june  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Pilot rescued from plane that crash-landed atop Idaho tree

Pilot rescued from plane that crash-landed atop Idaho tree A pilot who was trying to crash-land this week in an Idaho field instead brought his small plane to rest at the top of a 60-foot (18-meter) tree, officials said. Pilot John Gregory was not hurt in the Monday night crash, which happened when his single-engine Piper Cub PA-18 lost power and a wing strut became entangled in the tree, according to the fire department in the resort town of McCall. Gregory was rescued from his perch atop the giant white fir by volunteer firefighter Randy Acker, who owns a tree removal company. "My thought was, 'I need to get up there and see what's going on,'" Acker said.

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane (Washington Post illustration; iStock)

When model, cookbook author and unofficial mayor of Twitter Chrissy Teigen wondered aloud on the social media platform whether there is a reason she cries more at movies while on a plane, she tapped into a shared — and apparently emotional — travel experience.

The answer from her followers was an overwhelming “yes”: Followers attested to sobbing over “Deadpool 2,” “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” airline safety videos — you name it. And the reasons hypothesized to explain the emotions were just as varied. It’s the vodka. Or the altitude. Or the lower oxygen levels in the blood. Comedian Joe Randazzo, confessed plane-crier at “Legally Blonde 2” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” offered a slightly morbid view: “Some say it’s the air pressure but I believe it’s because deep down your subconscious knows it might be the last movie you ever see.”

Passengers held at Glasgow Airport as plane searched in 'security alert'

Passengers held at Glasgow Airport as plane searched in 'security alert' All inbound and outbound flights were earlier suspended following the incident.

Related Slideshow: 66 flying secrets revealed (Provided by Love Exploring)

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane
Although there are far more anecdotes than pieces of solid research, psychologists can point to explanations behind what’s been dubbed the “Mile Cry Club.”

Jodi De Luca, a clinical psychologist in Colorado who considers the effect of altitude on emotions one of her areas of interest, says passengers might feel a lack of control over their environment or a sense of anxiety that something bad could happen on the plane. That prompts the brain to produce a stress hormone, which can result in an increased heart rate and faster breathing.

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane © Getty Middle age hispanic woman standing over grey grunge wall holding airplane very happy and excited, winner expression celebrating victory screaming with big smile and raised hands

“It’s not just psychological or emotional, it’s also a physical and physiological event. It’s never any one variable. And that’s important,” she says. “We are cognitively, psychologically, emotionally [compromised], and now we’re physiologically compromised. The setup is perfect for an emotional vulnerability.”

First 'Goldfinch' Trailer Is Here and It's a Roller Coaster of Emotions

First 'Goldfinch' Trailer Is Here and It's a Roller Coaster of Emotions The highly-anticipated adaptation will hit theaters on Sept. 13.

Combine that with possible fatigue, plus immobilization, high altitude, reduced oxygen in the blood and dehydration due to dry air, and it’s a wonder everyone isn’t blubbering constantly.

“We could be on that plane watching that movie — it could be funny, it could be a little sad — and suddenly we find ourselves crying uncontrollably or gasping,” De Luca says. “Part of that is because we are limited with regard to the regulation of our emotions in an already-compromised environment.”

She says travelers should consider coping strategies in advance and bring things that are calming for them: a puzzle book, video games, favorite foods or a cozy blanket. “Do things to make that environment, as much as you possibly can, comfortable.”

But tear ducts aren’t the only things that go haywire on planes. Add them to the list that includes dulled taste buds, a hindered sense of smell and pained ears, and it’s no surprise that travel can be such a sensory-jarring experience.

'Leave your emotions outside the door,' judge advises Ana jury

'Leave your emotions outside the door,' judge advises Ana jury Leave your emotions outside the door, be independent of mind and act on the evidence. Put on your "teenage glasses" and consider the Garda interviews with the accused through the eyes of a 13-year-old. This was some of the advice given by the judge to jurors as they retired to consider a verdict in the trial of two boys accused of murdering Ana Kriegel. 

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane © Getty

Research commissioned by German airline Lufthansa showed in 2010 that the threshold for taste and smell increases at the lower pressure of an airline cabin. The perception of salt is reduced by 20 to 30 percent, the study showed, while sweet flavors were 15 to 20 percent more difficult to taste.

Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, says dry cabin air makes it harder for aromas to travel and dries out the nose, making it harder to smell that plate of chicken or pasta. In an article for the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, he wrote that low air pressure and high levels of background noise in cabins also play a role in passengers’ ability to smell and taste.

Another study by food scientists at Cornell University also showed in 2015 that the noise level on flights tamps down sweet flavors but amps up umami tastes in substances like tomato juice. That gave a fresh explanation to a question Lufthansa had been trying to answer for years: Why were so many fliers ordering tomato juice when the drink isn’t necessarily a hit on the ground?

MIT researchers taught robots to link senses like sight and touch

MIT researchers taught robots to link senses like sight and touch MIT researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have created a predictive AI that allows robots to link multiple senses in much the same way humans do. “While our sense of touch gives us a channel to feel the physical world, our eyes help us immediately understand the full picture of these tactile signals,” writes Rachel Gordon, of MIT CSAIL. In robots, this connection doesn’t exist. In an effort to bridge the gap, researchers developed a predictive AI capable of learning to “see by touching” and “feel by seeing,” a means of linking senses of sight and touch in future robots.

Armed with this research, airlines have explored ways to optimize offerings for passengers’ altered states. Spence, author of “Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating,” worked with a chef on “rethinking airline food” for Monarch Airlines in 2017.

They came up with a meal box that included ice cream with echinacea, a mochi rice ball to give passengers something to chew on and an umami-rich tea, biscuit and nut bar. Before the idea really took off, though, Monarch went bust.

Other airlines have introduced more umami flavors into their menus, including British Airways. That carrier also worked with Twinings to create a tea blend that would still taste good at altitude, and recently announced a Pickering’s gin specially crafted for drinking in the sky.

Spence hopes for more in-flight breakthroughs in drinking and dining; he says the way food is served and described — and even what passengers listen to as they eat — can also enhance its quality.

“Classical music will make your wine taste more expensive,” he says, and high-pitched music heightens sweetness. He worked with British Airways to create a “Sound Bite” playlist to complement meals in 2014, pairing Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington with a savory starter and Madonna with dessert, according to a menu published by the Daily Mail.

RAF typhoon scrambled after security alert on passenger plane over UK

RAF typhoon scrambled after security alert on passenger plane over UK RAF typhoon scrambled after security alert on passenger plane over UK

And late last year, Finnair announced it had paired its signature chef with Swedish band Roxette to create “new scientific soundscapes” that would accompany three dishes.

Outside of mealtimes, just sitting on a plane can be uncomfortable thanks to the surroundings.

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane © Getty Photo of business class airplane meal

According to the World Health Organization, when a plane is at its typical cruising altitude of 36,000 to 40,000 feet, the air pressure in the cabin is equivalent to between 6,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. The blood carries less oxygen than it would at sea level, a condition known as hypoxia, but the agency says healthy passengers usually tolerate the effects well.

However, there are still irritations. A passenger’s sense of balance can be thrown off by the movement of the plane, leading to motion sickness. And the cool, dry air in the cabin can dry out the eyes, nasal passages and mouth. Background noise is a constant, says Clayton Cowl, chair of the division of preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"There's a lot of white noise in a plane,” he says. “It’s not at a frequency type that would cause hearing loss, but it certainly is something that over time your senses adapt to.”

The change in cabin pressure can also cause gas in the body to expand, which leads to that familiar pain and feeling of blockage in the ears — as well as reduced hearing. Didi Aaftink, an occupational health physician who worked for the Dutch airline KLM for more than 12 years, says she frequently fielded questions about ear pain and airplanes.

10 killed after small plane crashes into Texas airport hangar, investigators say

10 killed after small plane crashes into Texas airport hangar, investigators say The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a fiery plane crash that killed all 10 passengers on board Sunday morning at an airport near Dallas. The twin-engine Beechcraft BE-350 King Air crashed into a hangar and started a fire at the Addison Municipal Airport in Texas, Fox 4 reported. © FoxNews.com 10 killed in a plane crash near Dallas, Texas. It wasn't immediately clear what may have triggered the crash. Firefighters worked to stop the blaze, forcing the airport to stay closed for 45 minutes, but the plane was destroyed in the fire, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

She blogged about several tips, including swallowing, yawning, chewing gum, avoiding sleep during descent and offering a pacifier to babies.

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane © Getty Tired man yawning, close up portrait

Despite all the potential for emotional and physical discomfort (and there can be plenty), medical experts say the human body is remarkably resilient.

“For most travelers — the vast, vast majority of travelers — the body’s adaptation to flight is a seamless process, and we all know that most of the time, it’s not a big deal,” Cowl says. “There are a few subtle adaptations that we do when we’re flying that we’re not aware of. The body’s amazing; it does accommodate.”

Gallery: 66 flying secrets revealed (Love Exploring)

Why your emotions and senses go haywire on a plane

Pakistani army plane crashes into homes, killing at least 17.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani military plane on a training flight crashed into homes near the garrison city of Rawalpindi before dawn Tuesday, killing at least 17 people, most of them on the ground. Fires, damaged homes and debris were visible in Mora Kalu village on the outskirts of Rawalpindi after daybreak. Troops and police cordoned off the residential area to search for plane debris and investigative evidence after the rescue efforts had ended. © Provided by The Associated Press Pakistan army troops and police officer gather the site of plane crash in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 9
This is interesting!