Eating, listening to music, petting your dog, watching a movie and smelling a bouqet of flowers. They don’t really have anything in common… But really, they do…
They all involve your five senses. Taste, sound, touch, sight and smell. But that’s not all.
Did you know you have more than these five senses? What are they? And why have we followed this theory of five for so long? Do any of them allow us to see dead people?
We all learned in school that our five senses are essential to our lives. They’re what allow our bodies to interact with the world.
But we’re so much more complex than just the five senses that the philosopher, Aristotle, came up with, over 2,000 years ago. These traditional senses might not even be our most important.
Go ahead and touch your nose. Notice how you didn’t have to look at your hand to direct it where to go? Why is that?
The reason for this is proprioception. This sense allows us to control our limbs without looking at them.
Without it, you’d constantly be having to look down at your feet while walking. Or imagine if you had to look at your hand everytime you wanted to grab something. How horrible would that be?
The traditional definition of a sense is tied to five organs. Ears, nose, tongue, eyes and limbs. What about all the other senses?
Like the vestibular system found within the inner ear. It gives us our balance. Another sense we didn’t learn in kindergarten.
The vestibular system is comprised of three valves and two otolith organs, all filled with fluid. Each part of the system plays a key role in us keeping our balance but they’re not the only thing.
Throughout this video you’ve most likely been using both your senses of sight and sound. Imagine if you lost your sight? Your experience would be drastically different.
That same principle applies to our other senses like balance. Balancing on one foot is pretty easy for most people. If you were to try it with your eyes closed you’d have a much harder time.
This is because our vision makes it easier for us to balance. Our inner ear uses our eyes to process information around us. Clarifying where we are and what we’re doing.
Our senses don’t end there either. There’s kinesthesis, the sense of movement which relys on sight, balance and proprioception.
When we really start to break it down to receptors in our bodies theres tons more. Ever put your hand up to a roaring camp fire and feel the heat on your hands? That’s thermeoception, the sense that allows us to feel hot or cold temperatures.
Or how about our pain and pleasure receptors? All different from simply being able to touch something, and feel it.
We even have senses that have nothing to do with our sensory organs. Like the sense of time which is when our brain gives us an estimate of how much time has passed.
All these senses are crucial to how we live our lives. Without one, the rest are affected. Think about your life without the sense of hunger or thirst, sounds terrible doesn’t it?
All this is not to say thart the five senses we learned when we were kids are wrong. Not at all. They’re essential to how we live and were an easy way for us to understand our bodies and the world around us at the time.
But science has progressed and we’re constantly learning more about ourselves than we knew back in 200 B.C.
And in case you were wondering no, we can’t see dead people.
- “Think You Have Only 5 Senses? You’ve Actually Got About 14 To 20”. Perry, Philip, 2018. Big Think. Accessed January 18 2019.
- “Psychology: How Many Senses Do We Have?”. Jarrett, Christian. 2014. bbc.com. Accessed January 18 2019.
- “How Many Senses Do You Really Have?”. mercola.com. Accessed January 18 2019.
- “The Five Senses”. Argosy Publishing, Inc. visiblebody.com. Accessed January 18 2019.
- “The Five (And More) Senses”. Science, Live. 2017. Live Science. Accessed January 18 2019.
- “Do Humans Only Have Five Senses? » Science ABC”. Staughton, John, and More author. 2017. Science ABC. Accessed January 18 2019.