5 Senses or More?

By Crystal Chan, Clarion staff

senses-2gqbnrqAs most of us know, humans have the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Using these senses, they transfer information from our surroundings to our brain, which processes this new information. However, the principle of the five senses which came from Aristotle’s On the Soul (De Anima) does not cover all of the senses that humans have. In fact, researchers believe that we have around twenty senses!

Sunlight helps the brain determine the time of day.

One sense is called chronoception, or a sense of the passage of time. This sense is able to perceive how much time has passed, and it is more accurate when you are younger. This is governed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus that controls our circadian rhythms. There are other cell systems that keep track of a shorter amount of time that are distributed in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia (or the brain, to sum it up). Like our other senses, this can fooled as well. “We all have days when we feel that time is passing more slowly or more quickly than it really is,” stated Gregory Myers, writer of ListVerse. Many theories have tried to explain the reason behind the slow/quick passage of time felt by humans, but these theories have not been proven to be true.

Some people have a really good sense of direction and can easily find their way around without Google Maps. Why is that? Magnetoreception is our ability to sense magnetic fields. This helps us with direction, but this sense in humans is not very strong compared to animals. “The mechanism for this is not completely understood; it is theorized that this has something to do with deposits of ferric iron in our noses,” said Daven Hiskey, writer of Today I Found Out. Those with a good sense of direction may be using this sense on a more advanced level than the average human.

Despite the many other senses (not listed here) that humans have, why is it limited to only five? If we were to consider the definition of a human sense as a unique way to take in information from the surroundings, then we should list all twenty (or more) senses. However, some senses are often grouped as one. For example, nociception or the sense of pain is seen as part of the sense of touch, but pain actually has its own sensory system. Whatever the case may be, I would prefer to list all twenty senses just to seem like a human with many natural talents.

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