How Many Senses Do You Really Have?

According to this Damn Interesting piece, you have many more senses, even beyond the spiritual than you ever imagined. Neurologists estimate the human body has anywhere from nine to 21 distinct senses.

Most experts agree about the basic senses -- smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch (although that last category can be split into a second set taking into account pressure, pain and heat).

Much of this intriguing piece deals with a third category -- The interoceptive senses that encompass data coming from your own body -- and what happens when they don't work well. What's more, you've known about these interoceptive senses all along, but never thought of them that way before.

  • A sense of balance.
  • An organic sense that tells you, for example, when you're thirsty.
  • The brain's innate knowledge of the position of the parts of your body, known as proprioception.

Damn Interesting September 16, 2006

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