Modern MythologyScience

Modern Mythology: The Sixth (and 7th, and 8th, and 9th) Sense(s)

When I was at primary school I remember learning that human beings have five senses- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch (or, if you want to be really fancy: vision, audition, olfaction, gustation, tactition).

This isn’t necessarily wrong, it is just missing a lot of information.

Researchers now generally acknowledge nine senses, so the five mentioned above with these four added to the list:

Thermoception: The sense of heat on our skin. You might think that this is the same as the sense of touch, and this is what people thought for some time. However, heat can be sensed without actually touching an object.
Equilibrioception: This is our sense of balance, as perceived by the fluid-holding cavities in our ears.
Nociception: The perception of pain from skin, joints, or body organs.
Proprioception: This is otherwise known as body-awareness, or the ability to tell where your body is in space even when you are unable to see or feel it.

There is also an extended list of 21 senses, although this includes all five different types of taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami), as well as thirst (plasma osmotic potential), and hunger (artery-vein glucose difference).

Aaand, now you get a funny song about sound from charlieissocoollike followed by an explanation of what I just said.

For a challenge, why don’t you try write a story using the nine senses.

Featured Image Credit: Google Images

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Lauren is a Maths and Physics student from somewhere in the southern hemisphere. She has an affinity for reality, and you can find her on twitter @lolrj, or Google+.

1 Comment

  1. December 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm —

    I knew there were more than 5 senses, but I didn’t know what they were. Now I can make people look foolish at parties. If I went to parties.

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