I See Dead People

5-senses-1rewmynOk, no I don’t.  But the Bruce Willis movie “The Sixth Sense” reinforces the universal childhood lesson that there are five, count ’em, senses.

But is that really true?

Recently, I was teaching that Aristotle said that “knowledge is the product of experience”, which I interpret to mean (notwithstanding St. Anselm’s proof for the existence of God), that at least from a scientific viewpoint, we learn about “out there” exclusively through our senses, or extensions of our senses (like radios, to get the baseball score, or gamma ray space observatories, to detect gamma ray bursts).

So I was surprised to find out that many scientists think that we have at least 9 senses, and possibly as many as 21.  One notable additional sense I found interesting is a kinesthetic sense of place, balance and acceleration called equilibrioception.  This sense is centered on the vestibular labyrinthine system of our inner ear.

Another possible additional human sense normally attributed to birds, sharks and (I guess) Dr. Magneto is magnetoreception, the ability to perceive magnetic fields.

Click on the pic above to learn about our other senses.

Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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