Monday, July 17, 2006

The Sixth Sense

Why is it that all children are taught that they have only "five senses"....

Doesn't a sense of gravity (i.e., acceleration) count as a sixth? ...could you live without it?

Just a thought.


Dossy Shiobara said...

I'd have to say that "sense of gravity" falls under "touch."

What about "sense of time"? Is that simply cognition (and not a sense)? Probably.

Mark said...

So, "sense of gravity" or "sense of acceleration" is actually a function of the inner ear. Anyone who has ever had a severe ear infection can attest to the disorientation associated with inner ear disfunction.

"Sense of time" isn't too far off the mark -- some Buddhist schools of thought argue that the sixth sense is "the mind and its thinking."

However, in my taxonomy, I'd consider that the seventh sense since the inner ear function (sixth sense) is much more similar to the other senses in terms of the sense-organ/brain interaction.

Dossy Shiobara said...

I still think the mechanics involved in the inner ear that are responsible for balance boil down to the sense of "touch" -- it's just liquid in your semi-circular canals tickling the microscopic hairs in there. You "sense" motion by the little hairs "feeling" the movement of the water: actually, it's the other way around, inertia keeps the water in place and the brain senses the movement of the hairs through the water.

I still assert it's just the "touch" sense, at a microscopic and subconscious level. You're free to disagree, but then I think you need to articulate what your definition of "sense" is ... otherwise, well, we can't have an actual conversation about the same thing, since we're using the same word to mean different things.

Mark said...

LOL - OK, now we're into a semantic debate!

I'm glad to see that someone is reading....

I don't know about you, but I have never heard anyone say that "touch" is also responsible for our sense of balance.

I agree that the hair/skin organ that we use for touch is the same organ acting in the inner-ear.

But, we can probably both also agree that the sort of "touch" you experience with your skin and hair is dramatically different both in perception and function from the "touch" experience in your inner ear.

You can have the last word on your blog. ;-)

Dossy Shiobara said...

"You can have the last word on your blog. ;-)"

You got it. :-)

Mark said...

Now, that was a truly excelent post! And not only because you said "So, it seems Mark is right..." ;-)

Anyone who has bothered to read this far should definitely check out the final word from Dossy: