The five senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste are well known. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, first proposed that concept. Still, it’s incorrect.
By examining the receptors in our bodies that have the responsibility of receiving and transmitting specific information, modern science has discovered as many as 32 senses. Additionally, we frequently work with our senses simultaneously without realizing it. Until something goes wrong and we realize how complex the human body is, we largely take this sophisticated system for granted. Learning more about our senses can aid us in understanding health issues and appreciating the various ways in which our bodies exhibit exquisite performance. Here are six senses you likely weren’t aware you had.
1. Vestibular Sense (Equilibrioception)
The feeling of balance and orientation is the vestibular sense. A group of receptors in the inner ear are triggered whenever we move our heads, which helps us maintain balance. The downward pull of gravity also stimulates the vestibular sense. Knowing whether way is up or down, right or left, is made possible by it.
Receptors in our muscles and joints interact with how our bodies occupy space. Although cell phones don’t assist, these proprioception receptors allow us to ascend stairs without looking down, connect our fingers to the tip of our noses, and walk down the street without bumping into anyone.
3. Inner Sensing (Interoception)
People also differ greatly in their capacity for interoception, or the knowledge of internal body signals. A person who doesn’t recognize when their stomach is full may eat or drink too much. If a person doesn’t feel their stomach growling, they can eat too little. Sometimes it’s necessary to remind children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to eat, for instance. We are also aware of when we need the restroom or when our hearts are racing more quickly.
To keep track of body temperature, we have specialized skin receptors that connect with the thermoregulatory center, a region of the hypothalamus. Our skin contains at least six different types of external temperature receptors, each suited to a certain temperature range. The relevant cold receptors fire more vigorously to indicate a change as the air becomes colder.
We are aware that we have this one; it is known as pain. However, it took some time before it was realized that pain has its own sensory system. Three different types of pain receptors can be distinguished: cutaneous (skin), somatic (bones, joints, muscles, and more), and visceral (body organs).
The concept of “pain tolerance” varies from person to person. Each nociceptors has a minimum level of stimulation required to start a signal that travels down the spinal cord to the brain. Fast, localized, sharp pain and sluggish, poorly localized, dull pain are caused by various types of nerve fibers.
Although we talk about a “body clock,” our bodies are actually packed with clocks that serve a variety of purposes. When we travel across many time zones or experience sleep deprivation, our circadian clock, which is tuned to the ebb and flow of daylight, is disturbed. Other clocks have tiny intervals in their tuning. Multiple 90-minute cycles make up our sleep, and we have rhythms for things like blood pressure, hormone secretion, heart rate, and more.