I'm reading The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith (good stuff if you want to inform the use of emotion in your writing), and I've just come across Overwhelmed (feeling). It talks about the ways in which a surfeit of information in the world can make us feel uncomfortable.
This made me think about the amount of sensory information we are encouraged to include in our scenes in order to enable our readers to visualise the surroundings. It strikes me that with five senses available to us, it might be that we could be in danger of inserting too much information into the prose, especially if it's an otherwise short scene.
Antag grappled frantically through the evocatively sun-lit, yet crowded train with the knife wielding Protag close on his rubber-clad heels and the sourness of breakfast coffee in his mouth. Failing deodorant scratched at nostrils, reluctant bodies thrust aside - reminders of childhood, flesh with the feel of jelly, cries of bewilderment and pain, the relentless rattle of wheel on track punctuating ragged breath, then unexpected darkness - a tunnel.
Even without the pernicious tang of adjective-overload, it surely just won't do to have so much description.
My question is, therefore: How do we know at which point enough is enough when it comes to including sensory information in a scene; i.e. which senses are the important ones for evoking a strong image for a reader and which can be safely left aside?
Research: I had a good rummage through existing questions but I can't find anything that's relevant. The nearest I can find is a question about How to describe 4 main characters at once without overloading the reader with information, which is interesting, but talks about characters rather than senses.
I did actually find someone with the opposite problem: How to develop a more vivid and descriptive writing style, but that doesn't really help me much.