Senses



A sense is a physiological capacity of organisms that provides data for perception. The senses and their operation, classification, and theory are overlapping topics studied by a variety of fields, most notably neuroscience, cognitive psychology (or cognitive science), and philosophy of perception. The nervous system has a specific sensory system or organ, dedicated to each sense.

Humans have a multitude of senses. Sight (vision), hearing (audition), taste (gustation), smell (olfaction), and touch (somatosensation) are the five traditionally recognized senses. The ability to detect other stimuli beyond those governed by these most broadly recognized senses also exists, and these sensory modalities include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), vibration (mechanoreception), and various internal stimuli (e.g. the different chemoreceptors for detecting salt and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood). However, what constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a distinct sense is, and where the borders between responses to related stimuli lay.

Other animals also have receptors to sense the world around them, with degrees of capability varying greatly between species. Humans have a comparatively weak sense of smell and a stronger sense of sight relative to many other mammals while some animals may lack one or more of the traditional five senses. Some animals may also intake and interpret sensory stimuli in very different ways. Some species of animals are able to sense the world in a way that humans cannot, with some species able to sense electrical and magnetic fields, and detect water pressure and currents. Read more


Extrasensory perception (ESP), is commonly called the sixth sense and includes reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. The term was adopted by Duke University psychologist J. B. Rhine to denote psychic abilities such as telepathy, psychometry, clairaudience, and clairvoyance, and their trans-temporal operation as precognition or retrocognition.

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP. Parapsychology has been criticized for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research. The scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain ESP, the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results, and considers ESP to be pseudoscience. Read more




In the News ...





Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds   Medical Express - August 16, 2018




Scientists uncover new details in how sense of smell develops   Medical Express - August 10, 2018
Dogs, known for their extraordinarily keen senses of smell, can be trained to use their sensitive sniffers to find drugs, bombs, bed bugs, missing hikers and even cancer. Among dogs and other animals that rely on smell, at least one factor that may give them an advantage is a sheet of tissue in the nasal cavity.




Odors are perceived the same way by hunter-gatherers and Westerners   PhysOrg - June 18, 2018
At the same time they also videoed their faces so they could measure their facial expressions to the different odors after the experiment. The researchers replicated the finding that Jahai speakers use special odor words to talk about smells. this is what they found.




Scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch   PhysOrg - January 11, 2018
Researchers for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons - the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell-based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body. Sensory interneurons, a class of neurons in the spinal cord, are responsible for relaying information from throughout the body to the central nervous system, which enables the sense of touch. The lack of a sense of touch greatly affects people who are paralyzed. For example, they often cannot feel the touch of another person, and the inability to feel pain leaves them susceptible to burns from inadvertent contact with a hot surface.




How odors are turned into long-term memories   Science Daily - December 22, 2017
Neuroscientists have investigated which brain area is responsible for storing odors as long-term memories. Some odors can trigger memories of experiences from years back. A new study shows that the piriform cortex, a part of the olfactory brain, is involved in the process of saving those memories; the mechanism, however, only works in interaction with other brain areas.




The Five (and More) Senses   Live Science - October 24, 2017

Humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. The sensing organs associated with each sense send information to the brain to help us understand and perceive the world around us. People also have other senses in addition to the basic five. Here's how they work.




Researchers discover surprising process behind sense of touch   PhysOrg - January 5, 2017
Biologists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered a new mechanism that likely underlies how we feel force or touch. Their study suggests that "rafts" of fatty lipids on the cell surface act as compartments to keep certain enzymes from mixing with their binding partners. Disrupt these rafts through touch - also called mechanosensation - and the enzymes will mix with their partners and react, triggering a signal that communicates the touch to responsive proteins in the cell.





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