Do We Have Only 5 Senses? Or 11 Senses?

The word “human senses” immediately makes us think of smell, touch, sound, taste and sight. But are humans really capable of only these senses? Or do we have more? If so, what exactly are those? This has been a subject of ongoing scientific research for decades.

The concept that humans have only five empirical senses (sight/visual, sound/auditory, touch/tactile, taste/gustatory, and smell/olfactory) has proven to be a myth, by several case studies. As there are at least four other senses that any human can feel. Now, let’s break down the myth to understand exactly how many senses we have.

What is a Sense?

A “sense” is how the brain perceives stimuli going on around it in the external world. A human body is actually a bundle of senses, with many experts even arguing that an individual can have anywhere between 22 to 33 different senses.

According to Neurologists, Senses can be classified into two ways: Exteroceptive and Interoceptive.

Exteroceptive Senses are the senses which allow the individual’s to perceive their body’s own position. These are usually the five empirical senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, which we are familiar with since our childhood days.

Interoceptive Senses are the senses that allow humans’ to feel temperature, pain, and other physiological conditions.

Here are some of our lesser-known senses that humans have:

Equilibrioception is a sense of balance, which allows us to keep upright, and get through without getting hurt.

Proprioception is a sense of knowing which parts of the body are where, without even paying attention. For instance – walking without watching your feet, and typing without looking at your fingers.

Thermoception is a sense of the temperature of our surrounding, allowing us to know if the environment is too cold or hot for our body.

Chronoception is the sense of time passing, which gives us the other common feelings like being bored.

Kinaesthesia is the sense of movement, which allows you to feel your entire body move when you run or swim.

Nociception is the sense of pain, that humans feel, physically when being hurt or injured.

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