Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

How many senses?

Have you ever wondered how many senses we actually have? It’s five, right?

Perhaps its time to think again.

Now, I used to teach that there were seven senses, and it looks like I was wrong. The seven were made up of the usual five senses – sight, sound, feelings, taste and smell, plus a couple more. I used to teach that the sixth sense was ‘experience’ that gave you that intuition. I’ll come back to the last one.

Several mentors taught me to trust my intuition, whether this was in respect to fighting or even Building Surveying. In fact, I was taught by several top surveyors to ‘trust my intuition’, and if something doesn’t seem right, it usually isn’t, so check it. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t put your finger on why, trust yourself. And often I did, and my intuition was never proved wrong. I’m sure it was information received from my first five senses, though I’m not sure how I knew, I just did.

As I’m studying neuroscience like mad at the moment I keep picking up more and more knowledge and it appears that we may well have a real sixth sense – and for good measure a seventh two!

We know already that many creatures such as homing pigeons and bees (!) have crystals of magnetite in the cells in their heads. This is a natural magnetic material which aligns with the earth’s magnetic field, helping them find their way. Apparently it’s now been discovered that these same particles are found in human brain tissue. As research develops will this be discovered as to our real sixth sense, a sense of direction?

It is being proposed that the seventh sense has everything to do with sex. Many mammals have a vomeronasal organ for sensing pheromones. A pair of pits exists in humans in the nose which is a similar structure to where the vomeronasal organ is found in those mammals. Apparently recent evidence is pointing to this organ developing in the human foetus, though may disappear before birth. Studies are at an early stage and this may well develop into evidence of our seventh sense, or at least show the signs of its history.

So, we have the first five senses, the usual ones, sight, sound, feelings, taste and smell. We can add to these the possibility of another two senses – the sense of direction, and the sense of detecting pheromones. But this still doesn’t explain my last sense. And while you can do your own research into the developments in respect to the sixth and seventh senses, we don’t need to need science to prove the existence of my ‘eighth’ sense.

I was giving my usual talk about using all of the senses in fighting, when one of my clients decided to become vocal about another one, one that I’m apparently particularly strong in. It appears I have a very strongly developed sense of ‘non’-sense…


  1. Although I have a keen sense of 'non-sense', I've also been told that I lack another - 'common-sense'....thanks Tiny, I'll get you back at sparring...

  2. mirror neurones could be described as another one maybe?

  3. Hi Kieran! Mirror Neurons are a hot topic in neuroscience, as its not yet sure if they exist in humans, and if they do, what purpose they serve. They've been discovered in monkeys and that's what most of the mirror neuron 'science' has been put forward from. It's going to be very interesting to see how the research into this develops, and it seems that there is a new paper published on these daily...