View Full Version : How many senses people have, 5 or 6? ....think again.

25-01-14, 23:48
When I was in school I was taught that people have 5 senses: the sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Since then the sense of touch lost it's coherence and mushroomed into 4 separate senses: the sense of touch, pain, heat and itch. All of these sensations can be define as separate senses because all of them have their own cells, dedicated neural networks and brain sectors.

Pain, heat and touch were well established before. Here is a quick nice read:

However sense of itch was just discovered:

I guess they were all blended into one sense of touch, because they are all mixed together, mostly in our skin, all over our bodies. Unlike 4 other sense which are very localized and well defined like eyes or ears.

Here is one more senses discovered in recent decades:
Proprioceptors - sense of limbs location and body position. That's why we can do complicated physical activities not tripping and hitting ourselves, well not too much. :)

We also know and understand sense of balance and acceleration. Simply speaking it is sensed by movement of liquids through ear canals.

So how many independent senses are well established?
1. Sight
2. Hearing
3. Taste
4. Smell
5. Touch
6. Pain
7. Thermal
8. Itch
9. Proprioception or Kinesthetic sense
10. Equilibrioception, or vestibular sense

All these senses help us to communicate with outside environment and move around in it.
There are many more not listed senses, like feeling our internal organs and bodily functions, but they don't serve as communication with external environment, therefore let's skip them.

26-01-14, 16:59
I remember learning about equilibrioception and thermoception etc at school but the five senses, sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch was the basic standard, as you say.

I think the count stands around 17 now and I read somewhere a figure of 20. However that figure is reached by counting interoceptors also, such as stretch receptors [good at telling us when stomach is full] and tension sensors [allow the brain to monitor muscle tension]. I think neurologists are still debating the number.:thinking:
I know however, the above are not the type you have in mind.
ATM I can`t think of any others than those you have already listed...I`m probably missing the most obvious now.

However there is something, and here I admit it isn`t really a sense in the manner of others, but I find it interesting. Awareness of immediate environment. For example interpreting cues from the environment we are presently in. Such as picking up on situations of potential conflict or danger. MRI scans have observed how the anterior cingulate cortex can pick up on subtle clues within the environment which may cause us harm, which the brain will then process and make decision on. Not the same as what you are speaking of, I know, but I think it`s a pretty invaluable sense, even though it can be argued it is learned, still we are born with the capacity to do so.
Another way I think this can be seen working is, often when we enter a room where already there are a group of people, straight away we can discern the "mood" and adapt our approach based on it.

26-01-14, 19:23
Another way I think this can be seen working is, often when we enter a room where already there are a group of people, straight away we can discern the "mood" and adapt our approach based on it.
Sort of Social Sense contained only in our brain.

The Gheg
25-08-14, 16:31
id say 6 senses or 7