Sensing the World Around You
by Ron Kurtus (revised 29 August 2004)
The way we determine what is in the world around us is by detecting and processing different signals or forms of energy through our senses.
Humans seem to be able to sense at least eight forms of energy. What is sensed in each is limited to a narrow bandwidth. The human senses also require a sufficient amount of energy to work properly.
Questions you may have include:
- What are these forms of energy that we sense?
- What limitations do we have?
- Are other senses possible?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Sensing different forms of energy
Most textbooks say that humans have only 5 senses. There are actually several more senses that have been overlooked.
Five basic senses
The five basic senses, the energy form detected, and their related body parts are:
- Sight - Light energy detected by the eyes
- Hearing - Sound energy detected by the ears
- Smell - Chemical energy and shape of molecules detected by the nose
- Taste - Chemical energy detected by the tongue
- Touch - Pressure energy detected by the skin
But we also can sense the passing of time. This is done by the observation of events that are expending energy. What is unusual about this sense is that people and animals seem to be about to sense future events.
People have had dreams or feelings that something was going to happen. Animals have be able to predict earthquakes and tsunami waves.
We have designated the sensing of time, especially future or past events as the 6th sense
- 6th sense - Psychic energy or the movement of time, perhaps detected by an area of the brain.
Scientists debate whether such a sense really exists. For more about it, see Your 6th Sense and Beyond.
There are several senses that are often overlooked.
- Temperature - Heat energy detected by skin but with different nerve endings than for the sense of touch
- Balance - Gravity energy detected by inner ear
Going beyond our imagination
There are energy forms that we do not seem to be able to sense.
- Electric fields - Eels and sharks detect electrical fields to guide them to prey through special sensors in their skin.
- Magnetic fields - Homing pigeons seem to use the Earth's magnetic field to find their way. (Scientists not sure where the sensor is located.)
(NOTE: Is it possible that humans might also be able to detect electric and magnetic fields, except that our ability is too weak to notice it? See Sensing Another's Aura.)
We are really limited by what we experience. There may be ways to communicate that are beyond our present imagination. There may be physical senses of which we are not aware. There also may be mental or psychic senses that we can learn to use.
We sense the world outside our bodies through detecting energy or other forms of communication. We have at least 8 senses, although they are limited in their energy bandwidth. There may even be other senses of which we are not even aware.
Stop to smell the roses
Resources and references.
Questions and comments
Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Click on a button to bookmark or share this page through Twitter, Facebook, email, or other services:
Students and researchers
The Web address of this page is:
Please include it as a link on your website or as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.
Where are you now?
Sensing the World Around You