Most of us learned about the five senses in school. The traditional five senses are sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. But did you know that there are a host of other “non-traditional” senses widely studied in the scientific community?
Non-traditional senses are integral to daily life and they manifest in many ways. Our bodies require the ability to detect and process things that the traditional five senses don’t reach. Following are five examples of non-traditional senses and how they help humans in everyday life:
Temperature Detection – The ability to perceive hot versus cold is also known as “thermoception.” Our own body temperature is the baseline for this sense. Thermoception is useful to humans because it helps us determine whether our body is in a situation where our basal body temperature could increase or decrease. (Sometimes we want to increase/decrease our body temperature, and sometimes we don’t.) Thermoception also tells us when something is hot or cold enough to damage our skin.
Awareness of Pain – Pain, though it isn’t fun, is a useful sense to humans. Pain, otherwise known as “nociception,” is the body’s warning system. The discomfort associated with pain tells us that something is wrong with our body. Pain can also be an indication that the body needs rest.
Mechanoreception – Can you guess what mechanoreception is? It’s the ability to sense vibration. Mechanoreception relates closely to the sense of hearing. Persons without the traditional sense of hearing use mechanoreception to enjoy music and to perceive the movement of people, cars, and other objects. Scientists have also studied musicians’ ability to sense vibration and how their development of this sense leads to their understanding of sound and pitch.
Hunger/Thirst – Our bodies tell us when it’s time to eat or drink via the senses of hunger and thirst. This combination of non-traditional senses is crucial to human survival and our body’s ability to self-sustain. Hunger and thirst are complicated processes that involve the central nervous system as it works in conjunction with internal organs and the traditional sense of taste.
Balance – How do you get from Point A to Point B without falling? It’s your sense of balance, or “equlibrioception.” Balance isn’t just for gymnasts - humans rely on this important, non-traditional sense for any activity that requires mobility, movement, and/or focus.
At Room To Escape, we consider both traditional and non-traditional senses when we plan and build new escape rooms. Play one of our escape games and try to identify six or more of your senses at work!