Face of the day

Aristotle

Aristotle

Most of us have been taught that we have five senses.

Sight,smell, touch, taste, hearing.

Five senses

Five senses

Aristotle has been widely credited with coming up with this classification. His ideas profoundly influenced

Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as “The First Teacher” (Arabic: المعلم الأول‎).

-Wiki

It turns out that depending on how you count them we humans actually have 14 to 20 senses. The five we were taught in school were the most obvious ones that we could have figured out for ourselves. The other senses are less obvious and therefore more interesting.

The Harvard School of Medicine lists six extra ones that are pretty hard to argue against. Close your eyes, then touch your nose with your index finger. How did you know which one was your index finger without looking at it? How did you know where your nose was? Did you smell your finger to your nose? Did your sense of touch somehow tell you what the air molecules you encounter along the way to your nose feel like? Nah, that’s proprioception, your body’s awareness of where it is in relation to itself.

Maybe the most interesting one they left out is your sense of timing, which might seem like it’s only a sense in the way that fashion is a sense. But leading neurologists like David Eagleman think it’s the most important of all the senses, since it’s the thread that ties the rest of them together. An apple is just a series of different sensations without your sense of time telling you they’re all happening at the same moment. Still not convinced? Try staring at a white wall in a totally silent room. Your sense of time tells you how much of your life has been wasted because you didn’t take us at our word.

It’s also worth noting that this sense…can operate like a freaking superpower. For instance, if you’re walking in the woods and a bear growls in the bushes behind you and to your left, the bear’s growl hits your left ear a millionth of a second before it hits your right. Your sense of time is able to pick up on that infinitesimal difference and allows you to perfectly triangulate the bear’s location behind you.

If you were only relying on your sense of hearing, you would only know that the bear is somewhere on the left side of your body. Your ears don’t swivel around like a dog’s, so you would have to turn and use your eyes to pinpoint the bear. A blur of brown and black fur would be the last sight you ever saw.

-cracked.com

Equilibrioception. Whether you’re slaloming down a slope or strutting down a street, this sense—otherwise known as balance—helps keeps you upright. Although vision plays a role in equilibrioception, the vestibular system of the inner ear is mainly responsible.

Nociception. If you’ve touched a boiling kettle or stubbed a toe, you’re likely all too familiar with nociception, the sense of pain. Recent research shows that what was once viewed as a subjective experience related to touch is, in fact, a distinct phenomenon that corresponds to a specific area in the brain.

Proprioception. Close your eyes and touch your fingertip to your nose. Quick: Where’s your hand? Unless you suffer from a deficit of this kinesthetic sense, you know where your hand is, even though you can’t see it. This sense, the awareness of where your body parts are, sounds silly—until you consider that without it, you’d have to constantly watch your feet to make sure they were planted on the ground.

Thermoception. You notice a chill in the air, so you don a jacket on your way to work. Later, as you enter your warm office, you shed that garment. That’s thermoception, the sense of heat and cold, which relies on temperature sensors in your skin to keep you from overheating or freezing.

Temporalperception. There’s no doubt that the perception of time can be subjective: Three hours spent at a party with friends may speed by, while a three-hour meeting can seem to drag. Yet our sense of time is rooted in biology. Research shows that the basal ganglia and other parts of the brain are responsible.

Interoception. When we take our internal perception into account, we have even more senses. These are linked to sensory receptors found in internal organs, such as those in the lungs that control respiratory rate.”

-harvard.edu

What about the senses we don’t have? We don’t have the amazing sense of smell that a dog has. Bloodhounds have noses up to 100 million times more effective than ours. Cats can see where we can’t as they only require one sixth of the light level that we need to see. Still, when you think about it the human body is pretty amazing. We take it for granted but we can do some really cool things. My Dad has a compass in his shoulder for example. Even though it is not a super power that has been proved by scientists my Dad can always tell me where North is and when I check with a compass he is correct. My super power is my ability to pick up vibes about a person within a few minutes. I can tell when someone is not genuine or is not a nice person very quickly. When I was a teen I picked up within a short period of time that a man staying in our home was a threat. The adults did not pick it up but my warnings about him turned out to be 100% correct.

What is your super power? Do you have any extra senses?


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