As a Neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley and member of the Zombie Research Society board, Bradley Voytek, PhD knows what he’s talking about when it comes to both the human and undead brain.  That’s why a recent post on his blog is so disturbing.

Voytek points out that ordinary people can tap into extraordinary sensory abilities often thought to be super human.  We have the power to become living comic book heroes, like Riverside teen Ben Underwood who could ride a skateboard using echolocation with his own clicking sounds.

“The second example is of another blind young man who was able to play video games by sound alone. The guy could track the sounds in a game and use them to play through to completion.”

What keeps most of us from living up to our full potential is a lack of focus on a single goal or object.  Humans have too much on their minds to take advantage of our amazing capabilities, but the same may bot be true for zombies.

Zombies are widely believed to be relentlessly driven by one overwhelming desire: to find and eat the living.  They don’t worry about an overdue car payment, or getting a promotion.  They don’t worry about buying a new TV, or if their hair is out of place.  They don’t even worry about avoiding a sharp tree branch, or advancing attack.

It is this singular focus that may allow zombies to take advantage of the innate abilities of the human body.   If so they may be able to hear, see or smell hiding prey at great distances, making it that much more difficult for mankind to survive the coming plague.

Read Voytek’s full article HERE.


  1. Perhaps they have a better sense of smell, odors do attribute to memory and some conditioned responses

  2. I *love* this idea, TiagoTiago! It fits really well with Christian Dannie Storgaard’s comment about the eyes rotting…

  3. It’s an interesting idea, but I too am worried about whether the zombie brain functions well enough for it. I’d like to see this correlated with the zombie brain scan by Dr. Bradley Voytek to see what parts of the brain would actually be functional enough to focus on this sensory information.
    Without going back and seeing his lecture again, my guess would be that smell would indeed be one sense that could be enhanced. Seeing that eyes rot somewhat quickly and that zombies could have issues putting meaning to visuals, I wouldn’t give “super sight” much credit though. Hearing? Maybe.

    This got me thinking, maybe Zombie Research Society could have a wiki so we could build a somewhat complete database of what would be a reasonable assumption of how a zombie would function: “Zombie: The Complete Manual” – great for fiction writers, no?

  4. This would also point to more brain activity than most would suspect. Keeping these senses working and then processing the information would take more than just a barely working brain. It also lends itself to disease, not death.

  5. Perhaps this is why the groan, to “see” their surroundings by noticing changes in the way the moans echo?

    • oops, sorry ’bout the typos, was kinda distracted when i wrote that comment

    • The only prob. with echo location in zombies is that there would be no difference in the “image” of another zombie as opposed to a non infected human. Meaning they would both “look” the same.

      • That could be one of the reasons they tend to eventually form groups, they get close thinking it’s food, but then they smell each other and realize it’s not, when they then move too far away they notice potential food and approach again till they’re close enough to tell the difference using smell once more (human smell isn’t all that precise, often you gotta get close to identify from which object a smell if coming from for example). If this is correct, zombie mobs are an emergent behavior, without the need for any intelligent decision to form groups.

        Though on larger scales, smell would still be the main reason zombie population tends to get denser towards where living humans are (humans do got a vague notion of the direction where a smell is coming from.when it is stronger closer to one spot than another, though things get pretty guessy when the smell is just about as strong anywhere around you)

      • Nice!

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