How Do You Sense?
Let's see if I can "talk some sense into your head".
We all know the five basic senses: touch; sight; hearing; smell; and taste.
According to LiveScience,
Touch is thought to be the first sense that humans develop, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Touch consists of several distinct sensations communicated to the brain through specialized neurons in the skin. Pressure, temperature, light touch, vibration, pain and other sensations are all part of the touch sense and are all attributed to different receptors in the skin.
Touch isn't just a sense used to interact with the world; it also seems to be very important to a human's well-being. For example, touch has been found to convey compassion from one human to another.
Touch can also influence how humans make decisions. Texture can be associated with abstract concepts, and touching something with a texture can influence the decisions a person makes, according to six studies by psychologists at Harvard University and Yale University, published in the June 24, 2010, issue of the journal Science.
"Those tactile sensations are not just changing general orientation or putting people in a good mood," said Joshua Ackerman, an assistant professor of marketing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "They have a specific tie to certain abstract meanings." [Just a Touch Can Influence Thoughts and Decisions]
Sight, or perceiving things through the eyes, is a complex process. First, light reflects off an object to the eye. The transparent outer layer of the eye called the cornea bends the light that passes through the hole of the pupil. The iris (which is the colored part of the eye) works like the shutter of a camera, retracting to shut out light or opening wider to let in more light.
"The cornea focuses most of the light. Then, it [the light] passes through the lens, which continues to focus the light," explained Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. [How the Human Eye Works]
The lens of the eye then bends the light and focuses it on the retina, which is full of nerve cells. These cells are shaped like rods and cones and are named for their shapes, according to the American Optometric Association. Cones translate light into colors, central vision and details. The rods translate light into peripheral vision and motion. Rods also give humans vision when there is limited light available, like at night. The information translated from the light is sent as electrical impulses to the brain through the optic nerve.
People without sight may compensate with enhanced hearing, taste, touch and smell, according to a March 2017 study published in the journal PLOS One. Their memory and language skills may be better than those born with sight, as well.
"Even in the case of being profoundly blind, the brain rewires itself in a manner to use the information at its disposal so that it can interact with the environment in a more effective manner," Dr. Lotfi Merabet, senior author on that 2017 study and the director of the Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, said in a statement.
This sense works via the complex labyrinth that is the human ear. Sound is funneled through the external ear and piped into the external auditory canal. Then, sound waves reach the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. This is a thin sheet of connective tissue that vibrates when sound waves strike it.
The vibrations travel to the middle ear. There, the auditory ossicles — three tiny bones called the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup) — vibrate. The stapes bone, in turn, pushes a structure called the oval window in and out, sending vibrations to the organ of Corti, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). This spiral organ is the receptor organ for hearing. Tiny hair cells in the organ of Corti translate the vibrations into electrical impulses. The impulses then travel to the brain via sensory nerves.
People retain their sense of balance because the Eustachian tube, or pharyngotympanic tube, in the middle ear equalizes the air pressure in the middle ear with the air pressure in the atmosphere. The vestibular complex, in the inner ear, is also important for balance, because it contains receptors that regulate a sense of equilibrium. The inner ear is connected to the vestibulocochlear nerve, which carries sound and equilibrium information to the brain.
Humans may be able to smell over 1 trillion scents, according to researchers. They do this with the olfactory cleft, which is found on the roof of the nasal cavity, next to the "smelling" part of the brain, the olfactory bulb and fossa. Nerve endings in the olfactory cleft transmit smells to the brain, according to the American Rhinologic Society.
Dogs are known as great smellers, but research suggests that humans are just as good as man's best friend. Research published in the May 11, 2017, issue of the journal Science suggests that humans can discriminate among 1 trillion different odors; it was once believed that humans could take in only 10,000 different smells.
"The fact is the sense of smell is just as good in humans as in other mammals, like rodents and dogs," John McGann, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey and the author of the new review, said in a statement. The Rutgers study backs up a previous study at the Rockefeller University in New York, whose findings were published in the March 2014 issue of the journal Science. [People Smell Great! Human Sniffers Sensitive as Dogs']
Humans have 400 smelling receptors. While this isn't as many as animals that are super smellers have, the much more complicated human brain makes up for the difference, McGann said.
In fact, poor smelling ability in people may be a symptom of a medical condition or aging. For example, the distorted or decreased ability to smell is a symptom of schizophrenia and depression. Old age can also lessen the ability to smell properly. More than 75 percent of people over the age of 80 years may have major olfactory impairment, according to a 2006 paper published by the National Institutes of Health.
The gustatory sense is usually broken down into the perception of four different tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter. There is also a fifth taste, defined as umami or savory. There may be many other flavors that have not yet been discovered. Also, spicy is not a taste. It is actually a pain signal, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
The sense of taste aided in human evolution, according to the NLM, because taste helped people test the food they ate. A bitter or sour taste indicated that a plant might be poisonous or rotten. Something salty or sweet, however, often meant the food was rich in nutrients.
Taste is sensed in the taste buds. Adults have 2,000 to 4,000 taste buds. Most of them are on the tongue, but they also line the back of the throat, the epiglottis, the nasal cavity and the esophagus. Sensory cells on the buds form capsules shaped like flower buds or oranges, according to the NLM. The tips of these capsules have pores that work like funnels with tiny taste hairs. Proteins on the hairs bind chemicals to the cells for tasting.
It is a myth that the tongue has specific zones for each flavor. The five tastes can be sensed on all parts of the tongue, although the sides are more sensitive than the middle. About half of the sensory cells in taste buds react to several of the five basic tastes. The cells differ in their level of sensitivity, according to the NLM. Each has a specific palette of tastes with a fixed ranking, so some cells may be more sensitive to sweet, followed by bitter, sour and salty, while others have their own rankings. The full experience of a flavor is produced only after all of the information from the different parts of the tongue is combined.
The other half of the sensory cells are specialized to react to only one taste. It's their job to transmit information about the intensity — how salty or sweet something tastes.
Other factors help build the perception of taste in the brain. For example, the smell of the food greatly affects how the brain perceives the taste. Smells are sent to the mouth in a process called olfactory referral. This is why someone with a stuffy nose may have trouble tasting food properly. Texture, translated by the sense of touch, also contributes to taste.""
LiveScience also mentions a sixth sense, which should not be confused with the expression which according to the Cambridge Dictionary, that means "an ability that some people believe they have that seems to give them information without using the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste". An Extrasensory perception, which we will get into below..
The sense of space
In addition to the traditional big five, there is another sense that deals with how your brain understands where your body is in space. This sense is called proprioception.
Proprioception includes the sense of movement and position of our limbs and muscles. For example, proprioception enables a person to touch their finger to the tip of their nose, even with their eyes closed. It enables a person to climb steps without looking at each one. People with poor proprioception may be clumsy and uncoordinated."
Meditation 24-7 goes on to list 21 senses. Sensory Trust counts even more. They explain "Because there is some overlap between different senses, different methods of neurological classification can yield as many as 21 senses. And this number does not include some physiological experiences such as, for instance, the sensation of hunger or thirst. Generally agreed senses for neuroscientists currently include:
Thermoception - the sense of heat (there is some debate that the sense of cold may be a separate sense)
Nociception - the perception of pain
Equilibrioception - the perception of balance
Proprioception - the perception of body awareness [mentioned above]
Not happy with up to 21? Eco-psychologist Michael J Cohen puts the number of senses at our disposal at 53. His definition of a sense goes beyond the physiological phenomenon/nerve sensor definition. He breaks the senses down into four categories:
The radiation senses: sense of colour, sense of moods associated with colour, sense of temperature.
The feeling senses: sensitivity to gravity, air and wind pressure, and motion.
The chemical senses: hormonal sense, such as pheromones, hunger for food, water or air.
The mental senses: pain, external and internal, mental or spiritual distress, sense of self, including friendship, companionship and power, psychic capacity."
Then there is Extrasensory Perception.
Study.com defines it as follows:
"Extrasensory perception (ESP) refers to the ability to obtain information about the world around you without using the normal five senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell. The basic assumption behind extrasensory perception is that humans can experience things that go beyond the capabilities of the known senses."
Britannica defines it as "perception that occurs independently of the known sensory processes. Usually included in this category of phenomena are telepathy, or thought transference between persons; clairvoyance [discussed below], or supernormal awareness of objects or events not necessarily known to others; and precognition, or knowledge of the future. Scientific investigation of these and similar phenomena dates from the late 19th century, with most supporting evidence coming from experiments involving card guessing. Subjects attempt to guess correctly the symbols of cards hidden from their view under controlled conditions; a better-than-chance percentage of correct calls on a statistically significant number of trials is considered to be evidence of ESP. Although many scientists continue to doubt the existence of ESP, people who claim this ability are sometimes used by investigative teams searching for missing persons or things."
It is suggested that we also have addition senses, utilizing the 5 basic senses.
The 5 Clair Senses.
Oprah.com explains that "the clair senses are types of psychic abilities that correspond with the five senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. When I tap into my intuition and spirit energy, my mind and body become flooded with mental impressions: thoughts, feelings, images, sounds, tastes and smells. To help you determine what your dominant clairs are, let me start by first explaining what they are and how our preferred senses shape our lives."
Clairvoyance means clear seeing.
This is when visions past, present and future flash through our mind's eye, or third eye, much like a daydream. Many of us are highly visual and able to understand an idea best when we see it written or sketched out as an image on a computer screen or on a canvas. Visual people often choose to be artists, builders, photographers, decorators, designers and so forth. If this sounds familiar, your clairvoyance is most likely a dominant sense.
Clairaudience means clear hearing.
This is when we hear words, sounds or music in our own mind's voice. On rare occasions, spirit may be able to create audible sound, though this takes a tremendous amount of focused energy. Some of us best retain and comprehend information when we hear it spoken aloud. Our natural talents tend to lie in our auditory faculties, often making us gifted musicians, singers, writers and public speakers. If this feels right to you, clairaudience may be a leading sense for you.
Clairsentience means clear feeling.
This entails feeling a person's or spirit's emotions or feeling another's physical pain. Many of us are clairsentient without consciously being aware of it. When we get a strong "gut" feeling, positive or negative, about someone we just met or when we get the "chills" for no apparent reason, we may be tuning into the emotional energy of a person or a spirit around us. When we are highly sensitive and are in tune with not only our own feelings, but also the feelings of others, this makes us natural healers and caregivers. We often feel inspired to pursue careers as doctors, therapists, counselors, nannies and teachers. If this is you, clairsentience is at the top of your senses list.
Clairalience means clear smelling.
This is being able to smell odors that don't have any kind of physical source. Instances of this could include smelling the perfume or the cigarette smoke of a deceased relative, used as a sign of their presence around us. When our sense of smell is strong and distinct, we may find that certain smells connect us to past memories or we may be drawn to working as a florist, a wine taster or a perfume fragrance creator.
Clairgustance means clear tasting.
This is the ability to taste something that isn't actually there. This experience oftentimes comes from out of the blue when a deceased loved one is attempting to communicate a memory or association we have with a particular food or beverage that reminds us of them. If we have a heightened sense of taste, this would make us natural chefs, bakers or food critics.
Claircognizance means clear knowing.
This is when we have knowledge of people or events that we would not normally have knowledge about. Spirit impresses us with truths that simply pop into our minds from out of nowhere. An example of this would be a premonition: a forewarning of something that will happen in the future. Claircognizance requires tremendous faith because there's often no practical explanation for why we suddenly "know" something. Many philosophers, professors, doctors, scientists, religious and spiritual leaders and powerful sales and business leaders tend to be highly intuitive and seem to just know the facts with a sense of certainty. If this is you, consider claircognizance as one of your dominant senses."
So, how do you sense?
What do you sense?
Is your "spider sense" tingling?
Do you use your "horse sense"?
So "come to your senses" and become more aware and sensible.