What are the senses?
You use your senses to perceive the world around you.
Sight. Hearing. Smell. Taste. Touch. Balance. These are the most important ones.
A lot of different parts of your body has to be in sync so you can sense something. Let’s take sight as an example. Light waves reach your eye. There, the tiny receptors transform the light into electrical impulses. Those impulses rush through the nerves to reach your brain. Only when they reach the specific part of your brain dedicated to sight - you can actually see.
Without your senses you wouldn’t survive. Without your senses you wouldn’t be able to feel the beauty of the world. Your friends smile. Your favorite song. The taste of your grandma’s favorite cake. The smell of the sea. The touch of someone you love.
And when the senses work together, the beauty is amplified! Imagine eating a delicious meal. Basically, you would only need your taste. But sight, smell and sometimes even touch and hearing will create a superb gourmet experience.
We created our Museum to bring the sensation to the next level. We used local inspiration, scientific discoveries and youthful creativity to teach you more about the way you perceive the world around you.
How many senses are there?
There are six main senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch and sense of balance. But humans have more senses than that. It turns out that there are at least nine different senses and most researchers think that there are even more than twenty senses.
The commonly held definition of a “sense” is “any system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that respond to a specific physical phenomenon and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted.”
This sounds very scientific, but you get the point - you need a specific information from the outside world, an organ to register it and a part of the brain to decipher it.
Learn more about the most known senses below.
The most developed sense in humans. It is so important for survival that it can impose on reason. For example, when a danger is perceived by sight, such as the attack of a wild animal or a car approaching at high speed, humans intuitively react to protect themselves, without stopping to think. When the sight becomes blocked or removed, all the other senses become alerted.
A bodily sense that perceives and distinguishes sounds. The human ear can perceive frequencies from 20 Hz to over 20,000 Hz. Ears can detect changes as small as 0.03% in pitch in certain frequency ranges. People who have absolute pitch can identify precisely every note on the musical scale. Bats and dolphins can detect frequencies higher than 100,000 Hz.
This is the sense that perceives and distinguishes odors. Unlike many animals, the sense of smell is less developed in humans, perhaps because as a species we don’t depend on it to find food, or for protection against specific enemies.
This sense perceives contact or pressure on the skin, distinguishing certain characteristics and their qualities, such as shape, size, roughness, softness or temperature.
This is the sense that identifies flavors through the tongue, the muscular organ located inside the mouth. The human being is able to perceive a wide range of flavors, in response to a combination of various stimuli, including texture, temperature, smell and taste. Food can be sweet or salty, sour or bitter. There is also a fifth taste - the savoury umami.
The sense of balance, or equilibrioception, is one of the physiological senses. It allows humans and animals to walk without falling. Some animals are better at this than humans. For example, cats, who can walk on a thin fence using their inner ear and tail for balance. By interrupting the sense of balance, dizziness, disorientation and nausea can occur. This sense is also closely connected to proprioception, a sense you can find out more about below.
In addition to the six traditional senses, many theorists argue there are many more! Learn more about them in our guided tour!
Here are some of the other senses and sensors:
Sense of time