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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Senses Basics and Beyond

How many senses do you have? Most of you would answer five. Some would say six. Did you know that you have more than five, or six, sensory systems working in your body?

The Basic Five

Senses allow individuals to perform their daily activities, such as running errands or attending training sessions in a TOEFL review center. Dr. William Pediaopolis of the University of Delaware defines senses as “physiological capacities of organisms that provide data for perception.”


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The most popularly known senses are the sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. These are the basic senses often taught in primary school. These senses proved to be useful as you grow up, study in a university, work or perhaps join an IELTS review center for further plans abroad.

Other Senses

Humans have an array of senses categorized into two: exteroceptive and interoceptive. The commonly known senses belong to exteroceptive. Listed below are interoceptive senses that most individuals are not familiar with:

1.    Sense of Time – This is also called “chronoception." The suprachiasmatic nucleus that controls the circadian rhythm or the 24-hour cycle of living beings governs this sensory system. 

Your sense of time allows you to differentiate durations, such as an hour from a year. For instance, you are aware that even though you are sitting in a TOEFL review center for hours, a day has not passed yet. Another example: you are aware that only two hours elapsed despite the four-year period shown in the movie you are watching.

2.    Sense of pressure – This is why individuals can distinguish soft and hard touches. For instance, you know that your instructor in an IELTS review center is just pointing at you but not pressing your face because you do not feel the pressure of his/her hand.

3.    Senses of Hunger and Thirst – Individuals have distinct receptors that tell them when they are hungry or thirsty. Note that these two are different.

The sense of hunger tells you when you have to eat. For instance, it lets you know that you have to eat lunch after long hours of lecture in an IELTS review center. On the other hand, the sense of thirst monitors your hydration level. For example, it tells you that you need to drink water after walking some distance.

4.    Sense of Pain – Nociception allows your body to feel pain. Some claim that this falls under the sense of touch. The sense of pain sends signals that there is something wrong in your body, such as an inflammation on your limbs. It has three different types of receptors:
  • cutaneous is responsible for sending signals about pain in the skin;
  • somatic tells your body that something is wrong with your bones and joints; and
  • visceral lets you know that your body organs are in pain.
On the other hand, the sense of touch only tells you that an external factor is in contact with your body.

5.    Sense of Balance – Equilibrioception allows you to maintain balance and identify movements regarding acceleration and directional changes. For instance, it lets you stand, sit or walk without experiencing difficulties. Without this, it is impossible to move in different directions.

The vestibular labyrinthine is a sensory system found in the inner ears that is responsible for maintaining equilibrium.

6.    Sense of Proprioception – This enables you to determine the position of your body parts, such as your legs and nose. An example is the field sobriety test that is usually performed by police officers to check if a person is intoxicated. It is hard to point out the position of the nose when one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Humans have many other senses that enable them to function. A flaw in one sensory system can affect how you perform daily activities. That is why it is important that you put health on top of your priority.

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