- Do we really have 22 different senses?
- Humans Have Between 9 to 21 Senses In Total – Aristotle Was Wrong To Claim We Have Only Five Senses
- The 5 Senses (and more…)
- The Main Five (Aristotelian Senses)
- Hunger and Other Internal Senses
- Aristotle got it wrong: We have a lot more than five senses
- Making Sense of the World, Several Senses at a Time
Do we really have 22 different senses?
A woman who I met sitting next to me at my Visionary Business Mastery conference last week blew my mind. She casually mentions that humans have up to 22 different senses. Besides the main five senses; vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell and then thanks to the movie, we discovered the sixth sense. What else is out there?
As I dove into this concept a bit deeper, I found this diagram.
If you have worked with me, you know that I have you practice observing your senses, body’s signals, cravings and taste buds before you prepare a meal. Even when someone asks me a simple question, I have to take into consideration the MANY aspects of what is going on in the physical, emotional and mental body before I can answer.
For example: What foods help with brain function? Super simple question and with technology today, I should just google and send over a list.
Instead, I ask…
- What else is going on in your life during certain times of your day that leaves your brain feeling depleted?
- Do you notice mental exhaustion after certain meals?
- Are you sleeping straight through the night?
- What strong cravings are you having in the middle of the day?
- What other issues could be considered more of the cause and the tired brain is the result.
All of these inquiries help you tune into the body and reveal what organs need more support. We are considering how to support your body as a whole versus trying to piece together what you are truly missing. How do you go about finding answers in regards to your body? Are you asking the right questions?
One of my favorite programs to help you take away the static so you can understand and decipher your senses is the Conscious Nutrition RESET program. I paused group programs last year and guess what, we are bringing it back! Just in time for spring cleaning and the day after taxes. (April 16th, 2018 @ 5 pm PST)
During the 3-week RESET you will release some foods that may be hindering you from understanding what your body truly needs. We practice with different nutritional and healing modalities such as Vegan, Intermittent Fasting, Ayurvedic and many more. We give you weekly step by step actions, recipes, meal plans, supplements and self care exercises to help you reconnect with your body.
When I am under stress I can crave things that aren’t what I need but this signal is providing me with information to give my body something that it does need. After the RESET you will be less inflamed, confused and more nourished. Some of your old habits will effortless go away and the ones will be easier to implement after the congestion is gone.
If you have any question you can join us to discuss this more at this month’s Heather’s Healthy Happy hour. Please join us Monday, March 19th @ 5 pm PST and email me for the information. Heather@ConsciousNutrition.com
Or if you are ready for the spring Conscious Nutrition RESET: Join here, the sooner the better so I can send you the information to help you mentally prepare to get your spring cleaning groove on.
See you soon,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.
P.S. Here is what a past RESET client had to say…
I cannot thank you enough for ALL that you’ve done for me over the last few years! I have learned so much about nutrition and what works best for my body.
I remember meeting you a few years ago and it didn’t take long for me to start feeling healthy and alive again! You have given me so many tools to use to make healthy decisions and have always been there to support me going through the process.
I recently completed the 3-week reset program and loved it! It was a challenge, but the results were phenomenal! I’ll admit that six weeks is a pretty decent commitment and doing it during the summer was not easy, but for me it was the right amount of time to allow for adjustments in my nutritional plan to stick! Being allowed time to ease bad habits and re-introduce healthy ones worked for me. I didn’t feel rushed through the program, therefore no stress about obtaining the bi-weekly goals of the reset. I never felt depleted, but reinvigorated throughout the process. I had more energy and slept better as a result. The added bonus was a few pounds lost! I would highly recommend this program to your new clients and for anyone who needs a reset every now and then. I love working with you and your support is always genuine and reassuring. You have changed my life! Thank you for doing what you do!
Love and Blessings,
Humans Have Between 9 to 21 Senses In Total – Aristotle Was Wrong To Claim We Have Only Five Senses
Last Updated on February 9, 2020
Cynthia McKanzie – MessageToEagle.com – Have you ever heard the expression someone has a sixth sense? Why limit our senses to a sixth sense? Actually, according to scientists, humans can have between 9 to 21 senses in total!
The idea that humans have only five senses is a pure myth. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist is credited with the traditional classification of the five senses organs: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Aristotle was wrong, but the myth of five senses persists.
We have more than five senses. Image credit: Scaa.org
Currently, there is no concrete definition of what constitutes a sense, but according to most researchers, a sense is a feeling or perception produced through the organs of touch, taste, etc.
, or resulting from a particular condition of some part of the body. In order for us to have a sense, there needs to be a sensor. Each sensor is tuned to one specific sensation.
For example, there are sensors in your eyes that can detect light.
The five senses mentioned by Aristotle are what we call traditional senses, but there are also additional senses such as:
Equilibrioception: Simply known as the sense of balance. It helps prevent humans and animals from falling over when standing or moving.
Proprioception: This is the perception of one’s body in space or the body’s position. Even if a person is blindfolded, he or she knows through proprioception if an arm is above the head or hanging by the side of the body.
Thermoception is the sense of heat. Specialized cellular sense receptors (thermoreceptors) allow the detection of cold and hot temperatures. It means we know which object is hot without touching it.
Nociception is the ability to feel pain.
Magnetoception is the ability to detect magnetic fields. Un birds, humans do not have a strong sense of magnetoception, but we still have a certain orientation when detecting the Earth’s magnetic field.
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We also have stretch receptors. These are found in such places as the lungs, bladder, stomach, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal tract.
Our chemoreceptors help us to detect chemicals in the environment.
Familiarity is part of our recognition memory. A strong sense of familiarity can occur without any recollection, for example in cases of deja vu.
Hunger and thirst are also senses. The sense of time is still debated, but researchers have discovered humans have an astonishing accurate sense of time, particularly when younger.
Other senses are pressure, itch, and muscle tension.
Many people would also say that intuition is also a sense, but there is still isn’t enough conclusive evidence to add it to our sense list. However, more and more scientists are becoming convinced some humans are able to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning.
Scientists who study the phenomenon say it’s a very real ability that can be identified in lab experiments and visualized on brain scans.
What is certain is that humans certainly do have more than five senses.
Written by Cynthia McKanzie – MessageToEagle.com Staff Writer
Copyright © MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of MessageToEagle.com
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The 5 Senses (and more…)
How do you know what is happening in front of you right now? How do you get a sense for what is going on?
I gave you a hint. You sense what is going on by using your senses to send input about the world to your brain. Once your brain receives sensory input, it translates and organizes this input. This process is called perception.
In my most recent set of videos, I have been discussing the science and theories that begin to explain perception. But this video is all about sensation. And I want to start by talking about the five main senses.
I say five main senses, because we have more than just five senses.
The Main Five (Aristotelian Senses)
It may surprise you to know that we have more than five senses. After all, how many senses did you learn about in school? Five!
For hundreds of years, scientists believed that humans have five senses that send input to the brain. The man behind this theory is not a neuroscientist, but a philosopher. That’s right. The five main senses are also known as the Aristotelian senses, because Aristotle is the big man behind this theory. He believed that each sense worked independently of each other.
These senses are:
As someone who uses all or most of these senses throughout the day, it makes sense (pun not intended) that these senses help us understand the world around us. And so these five senses became the core of studying how we use sensation and perception.
But there is a lot more to the senses than what Aristotle said. Before I move on, I want you to think about this question:
- When you are looking directly at an object, how do you know that the object is three-dimensional?
Questions this suggest that Aristotle was wrong when he said that all senses work independently. The blending of multiple senses is at play in this example. You may know that an object is three-dimensional because you have touched it or felt it. Other senses, including those outside of the five main senses, may be at play here as well.
Take wine tasting, or any kind of tasting. The smell of what you are about to taste is very important, at times just as important as the taste.
Keeping this work between the senses in mind, let’s talk about some additional senses that influence sensory and perception. Neuroscientists believe that we have up to at least 20 different senses that work to help us understand the world around us. I’ll explain just a few of the more important ones here.
Close your eyes. Picture your body as it is right now. What senses are you using?
Sure, you’re using touch. You may feel your hands on your desk or your butt on the seat. But you’re not using sight. You can practice this exercise without listening to anything. And you’re not using taste. Take a moment to picture your torso, the tip of your nose, or a part of the body that’s not making contact with anything. How do you know where that is?
The answer is one of the main senses discovered after Aristotle: proprioception.
Proprioception helps us sense where our body is in space and how it’s moving. (It’s also known as “spatial awareness” or the “kinesthetic sense.”) Have you ever moved up and down the stairs without looking at them? Thank your sense of proprioception. Have you ever done a “body scan” in a meditation class? That’s all proprioception.
People with poor proprioception are ly to bump into objects or be uncoordinated. You know when children go through growth spurts or puberty and can’t get a sense of how tall or large they are? They need to work on their proprioception.
What sense do you associate the ear with? Hearing! Within the ear are three different parts. One part is the cochlea, which contains a group of organs that help us hear. The other two parts contain organs including the utricle and saccule. These organs help us with our sense of balance.
Our sense of balance (also known as equilibrioception) keeps us upright. It also tells us which way is up, which way is down, left, right, etc.
The organs within the inner ear, along with the eyes and muscles throughout the body, all collect sensory input about the position and rotation of the body as it moves. If these organs are doing their job right, we stay upright and balanced.
I mentioned the utricle and saccule as two major organs within the inner ear that help us keep our sense of balance. These organs also help out with yet another sense – acceleration. When you are riding a roller coaster and you feel your body moving faster than usual, you can thank your inner ear and your sense of acceleration.
Close your eyes. How warm is it outside right now?
Yet another sense is the sense of temperature, or thermoception. Thermoception is a sense that is still relatively ambiguous to neuroscientists.
Sure, we all know that if we walk outside and it’s 32 degrees, we are going to feel colder than if we walk outside and it’s 90 degrees.
But why? And why are some people more ly to feel cold while others are more ly to feel hot in the same environment? Information about thermoceptic receptors and how they work with the brain is still relatively vague compared to our other senses.
Sometimes we experience pleasant touch. Other times, we experience pain. Pain, or nociception, is considered a sense all its own.
Nociceptor cells are responsible for sensing threats to the body and sending that information to the brain.
We have different types of nociceptor cells that cause different types of pain: the Alpha-Delta fibers produce a sharp, localized pain. The C fibers cause more burning or throbbing pain.
Both of these cells let the brain know that there is a possible danger to the area of the body where the threat was detected. In response, you might feel pain.
This pain is a way of letting the body know that you should pay attention to the area of the body where you are feeling pain. That is why you might feel a mosquito bite on your leg even if you are not looking there.
Or if you touch a hot pan, your hand feels hot and your body knows to remove your hand from that situation.
Pretty cool, right?
All of the senses that I just mentioned are external senses. They use input from the world outside our bodies. Other external senses include:
- Sexual stimulation
There are also internal senses that work nociception. These internal senses send messages to and from the about what is happening inside the body.
Hunger and Other Internal Senses
One of these senses is hunger. Hunger is an internal sense, or interoception. The body senses an imbalance within the body and sends a message to the brain in order to correct that imbalance. In the case of hunger, the body is noticing an energy imbalance. You feel hungry because your body is telling you that you need more fuel.
These sensory receptors within the body may or may not be something that we notice with our conscious mind. Some sensory receptors, the peripheral chemoreceptors, make us feel dizzy or suffocated if we are exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide. Others tell us when we are full, when we need to use the bathroom, or if we are about to vomit.
And then, there are senses that don’t have to do with any particular body part. Take our sense of time. “Chronoception” is the process in which the mind experiences and perceives the passing of time.
Research shows that parts of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum play a role in this sense.
Chronoception may also explain why people get that “2:30 feeling” and tend to get tired in the early afternoon, clockwork.
A lot of these senses are basic concepts that you may not have understood to be senses before. Neuroscience is continuing to expand our ideas about senses and what constitutes as a sense. This research not only helps us understand how the brain and the body work, but also how we make sense of the world and our place in it.
Aristotle got it wrong: We have a lot more than five senses
One of the most famous letters of philosophy was written by Dubliner William Molyneux on July 7th, 1688. It was addressed to the enlightenment thinker John Locke and posed a question that would become known as Molyneux’s Problem.
Suppose a man was born blind and had learned how to distinguish a globe from a cube by holding them in his hands. If his sight was suddenly restored could he then distinguish the globe from the cube by looking upon them without touching?
“That was a good question,” says Barry C Smith, who heads up the Centre for the Study of the Senses at University of London. Various answers have been given down the centuries by philosophers and scientists, but there’s still no consensus.
What makes the question so good is that it forces people to rethink their assumptions about perception. Many philosophers have assumed perception is merely sight – a “bizarre” notion, says Smith, as the evidence suggests that touch, sight, smell and the other senses interact in a complex way to produce our lived experiences.
Armchair philosophers who ignore biology and neuroscience are missing fundamental facts about our experience
Originally a philosopher of mind and language, Smith became more of an empiricist through what he called “an amateur interest” in wine. “There I was telling people about the taste of wine, and then I thought: How does taste actually work?” He discovered many flavours came not from the tongue but from the nose, and that texture and presentation played key roles.
“It’s something you can demonstrate for yourself,” Smith says. Try eating a jelly bean with your nose pinched and all you’ll get is a shot of sweetness. Let go of your nose and suddenly the fruit flavours appear.
There’s a lesson here for philosophers, says Smith. “Armchair” thinkers who eschew the discoveries of biology and neuroscience are “missing fundamental facts about our experience”, he says.
“If you start from the wrong construction of the phenomena, then you might produce a very clever piece of philosophy, but it will be worthless because it’s not actually getting to grips with how things really are.”
Aristotle said there were five senses – smell, sight, touch, taste, and hearing – but science suggests there are many more than that. How many exactly?
Barry C Smith: “There could be anything between 22 and 33; there is a lot of argument about it. What are they? A sense of balance, for a start, that’s hugely important; if that goes wrong your perceptual world is really in a mess.
“If you close your eyes now you know where all your limbs are without looking at them or touching them; that’s proprioception. Clearly it’s a sense.
“You’ve also got somewhat unusual senses. The sense of effort: if you go to lift a cup of tea but somebody had replaced it with a perfectly good replica in polystyrene you would just throw it over your shoulder. There is a sense of effort needed to actually heft something, to lift it or manipulate it.
“There is also the sense of agency: when you reach for the cup you think ‘I reach for the cup’. People who have neurological damage will sometimes find their arm going out and picking up a cup and they say ‘I didn’t do that’, and of course, they did, their brain is executing that manoeuvre but if they’ve lost their sense of agency… it doesn’t feel their action.
“Once you start to add all these together you realise there is a symphony of senses, and they are often so well-orchestrated with each other that we don’t notice their operation. We don’t realise they are permanently at work.
“The example I really of how we get our experience wrong is where you are on an aeroplane on the ground and you get strapped in and you look along the cabin, and see where everything is, when they are giving the safety instruction.
“Look along the cabin again when you are in the climb and it will now look to you as though the front of the cabin is higher than you are. How can it look that way, because you are in exactly the same visual, optical relation to everything in the cabin?
“So it’s not a pure visual experience. It’s being created by the fluid in your ear canals when you tilt backwards, telling you that you are now tilting backwards, and this influences your vision and changes what you see.”
How does all this put philosophy in a bad light?
“Well, I think something that bothered me as someone interested in taste, and therefore smell, is that you look at a lot of philosophy textbooks and the great thinkers of the past, and they talk about a theory of perception, and they say: ‘Take the case where I am looking at a tree, or cup…’, and then they think ‘I’m going to build my theory of perception around that’. What they are talking about is a theory of vision.
“And many of them think once you get the account of vision right then all you have to do is make some modifications and you’ll be able to explain how the other senses work, and the other bits of perception will fall into line. And I think that’s just not right.
“The more I look at taste, touch, smell and the other bodily senses the more I think vision is the odd one out. It’s quite un anything else. It presents us with a permanent visual scene. We maintain a scene around us in a way you don’t with smell, and you don’t always have with hearing. You can turn things off, you can fail to attend.
“With touch, think of the clothes just now on your skin; you’re not maintaining a permanent sensory, receptive field of how things feel touching you. You don’t need to.
“But vision keeps you in the present surroundings you are looking at, and that’s just not any other sense. So I think it would be a mistake to model perception on vision, and philosophers almost don’t notice it.
Philosophers sometimes have a slightly naive view of scientific theorising
“Nowadays you see certain questions that seem philosophically hard but when you look at the empirical neuroscience results you realise those questions are not so hard to answer, or maybe they are not the key questions.
“Philosophers to say: You look at a cup on your desk and you only see it from one point of view – you don’t see the other side; so how do you see that as a three dimensional object? Maybe it’s an illusion, and there’s nothing round the back? And so on.
“But most of the time when we have something of that size we have our hand around it. So we are getting visual and tactile information that the brain is fusing together. When you see an object that you have handled your brain is already partly completing the expectations of touch.
“It’s not hard, if you think of the cup as something you would see and handle and feel, to think how you would perceive the world as having three dimensional objects and not just surfaces that are visually available to you.”
Does this have an impact on scientific observation? Should we doubt the veracity of what scientists report, as all visual evidence is arguably incomplete?
“I think philosophers sometimes have a slightly naive view of scientific theorising. They think you look down the microscope or telescope and you see something and that gives you the result.
“Most modern science is a matter of having many sources of evidence and doing interpretations of those results. The interpretations, statistics and modelling behind it are hugely complicated and contested, and there is something quite active and creative in deciding what the right view is.
“So in a way scientific method, using many different targets and also many different hooks into the same subject matter, and then trying to triangulate them, is what our perceptual system does. It is what the senses do: they take multiple sources of information and then sum up what’s going on out there.”
Have you encountered resistance from fellow philosophers to your line of argument?
“Huge resistance. I find that puzzling. Why? Because the people who say to me ‘You are not doing philosophy, you are not being pure, you look more a sensory scientist’, their heroes are often people Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Descartes and so on. These are people up to their ears in the science of the day; they did science.
“Locke published papers on the trigeminal nerve. He writes treatises on agriculture. Descartes was cutting open animals and wrote about optics, finding out that you had a reverse image on the lens from the retina and so on. So it’s very funny that the purists are often forgetting that the people who seem to do the philosophy they most admire actually talk about the science.
“I think the worry is: am I just going to accept scientific answers to philosophical questions? And the answer is no. I don’t think, for example, neuroscience is going to answer philosophical questions. But I think it is going to help us understand the phenomena, and the kind of evidence we must draw on, when posing those questions or framing them in the right way.”
ASK A SAGE
Question: Should philosophers tweet?
John Locke replies: “To think often and never to retain it so much as one moment is a very useless sort of thinking.”
Making Sense of the World, Several Senses at a Time
Our five senses–sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell–seem to operate independently, as five distinct modes of perceiving the world. In reality, however, they collaborate closely to enable the mind to better understand its surroundings. We can become aware of this collaboration under special circumstances.
In some cases, a sense may covertly influence the one we think is dominant. When visual information clashes with that from sound, sensory crosstalk can cause what we see to alter what we hear. When one sense drops out, another can pick up the slack.
For instance, people who are blind can train their hearing to play double duty. Those who are both blind and deaf can make touch step in—to say, help them interpret speech.
For a few individuals with a condition called synesthesia, the senses collide dramatically to form a kaleidoscope world in which chicken tastes triangles, a symphony smells of baked bread or words bask in a halo of red, green or purple.
(For more on how the senses can cross each other and into unusual territory, see “Edges of Perception,” by Ariel Bleicher, Scientific American Mind, March/April 2012.)
Our senses must also regularly meet and greet in the brain to provide accurate impressions of the world.
Our ability to perceive the emotions of others relies on combinations of cues from sounds, sights and even smells (see “I Know How You Feel,” by Janina Seubert and Christina Regenbogen, Scientific American Mind, March/April 2012).
Perceptual systems, particularly smell, connect with memory and emotion centers to enable sensory cues to trigger feelings and recollections, and to be incorporated within them (see “Smells Old Times” by Maria Konnikova Scientific American Mind, March/April 2012).
But the crosswiring of the senses themselves provides some of the most fantastic fodder for illusions, inventions and just plain art. Here are a few of the best examples of the complex interactions – and extraordinary feats – of our cross-wired senses.
Seeing What You Hear
We can usually differentiate the sights we see and the sounds we hear. But in some cases, the two can be intertwined. During speech perception, our brain integrates information from our ears with that from our eyes.
Because this integration happens early in the perceptual process, visual cues influence what we think we are hearing. That is, what we see can actually shape what we “hear.
” This visual-auditory crosstalk, which happens every time we perceive speech, becomes obvious in this video of a phenomenon called the McGurk Effect.
In this case, despite the fact that you are listening to the same sound (the word “bah”), what you hear depends on which face you are looking at. The effect persists even after you learn about it, so reading about the McGurk Effect won't spoil it for you.
Blind baseball seems almost an oxymoron. But since 1975, when a few blind Minnesotans invented “beep baseball,” those who lack sight have taken part in America's favorite pastime.
Thanks to a one-pound beeping oversized softball and some tweaks to the game, players can hit a home run without ever seeing the ball. They use the sound the ball emits to orient themselves, make contact using a bat, and run to base.
They might be particularly well-suited to this form of the game, as previous research suggests that blind individuals can more easily localize sounds than sighted people can. You can see how well they play in this video.
Calling What You See
Bats and whales, among other animals, emit sounds into their surroundings—not to communicate with other bats and whales—but to “see” what is around them.
They read echoes of the sound waves, which bounce off objects, to identify and locate objects. This sensory system is called echolocation. Although most of us can only imagine the pictures that form from sound, some blind people have managed to master a form of echolocation.
By uttering sounds and clicks, these individuals can use their ears to navigate. Some, such as Daniel Kish, have even taught others to use this form of human sonar. Kish once described human echolocation as “something seeing the world in dim flashes of light.
” In this video, an artist show how those flashes might create useful impressions of the outlines of objects.
Let Your Fingers Do The Hearing
People who are both deaf and blind are incredibly good at using other senses such as touch to navigate and understand the world.
Some use the Tadoma Speechreading Method to perceive speech by touching the lips of another person as they talk. First taught in the 1920s, lip-reading by touch was a popular form of communication among the dealind.
Helen Keller was one of its early adopters.
If taught early in development, the Tadoma Method can help a dealind child learn to speak as well as to understand others. Those who lose their sight and hearing later in life can use it to read lips.
But because the method is extremely difficult and time consuming to learn, by the 1950s it began to lose ground to American Sign Language as the dominant teaching method.
In ASL, the dealind place their hands over another signer’s hands and follow the motions with their fingers—which is easier because the movements are far less subtle. Today, only about 50 people in the world still use of the Tadoma Method. Watch some of them at work in this clip.
Do You Have Synesthesia? Take This Test
People with synesthesia have a particularly curious cross wiring of the senses, in which activating one sense spontaneously triggers another.
They might see colors when they hear noises, associate particular personalities with days of the week, or hear sounds when they see moving dots. Synesthesia is thought to be genetic, and recent research even suggests that it may confer an evolutionary advantage.
Most synesthetes don't notice anything strange about the way they perceive their environments until it is brought to their attention. One young woman only found out she was a synesthete in her freshman year of college after attending a talk on the topic.
This video is a test for one form of synesthesia. Watch the dots and “see” if you hear anything!
A World In Which Senses Fuse
What might life be if you had synesthesia? Here is one artist's rendition of the experience of a synaesthete. In this surreal world, music records smell different colors, foods tastes specific noises, and sound comes in all varieties of textures and shapes.