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How many senses does a human being have?

The standard list of five senses doesn't give our bodies credit for all the amazing things they can do. Human can sense at least a dozen different things.

In order for us to sense anything, we need to have a sensor. Each of our sensors is tuned to one specific sensation. For example, sensors in your eyes can detect light. That is the only thing they can detect. To track down all the different senses a person has, it's easiest to catalog all the different sensors. This is a reasonable list:

  • Your eyes have two different types of light sensors. One set, called the rods, senses light intensity. The rods work well in low-light situations. The other type, cones, can sense colors (actually, there are three types of cones for the three primary colors) and they require fairly intense light to become activate.
  • Your inner ears have sound sensors.
  • Your ears also have sensors to detect orientation within the gravitational field - they give you your sense of balance.
  • Your skin has at least five types of nerve endings. They create your sensitivity to heat, cold, pain, itch and pressure. These give us the senses of touch, pain, temperature and itch.
  • Your nose has chemical sensors that give you your sense of smell.
  • Your tongue has chemical receptors that give us our sense of taste.
  • Your muscles and joints have sensors that tell you where different parts of your body are as well as the motion and tension of the muscles. These senses help us do things like touching our index fingers together even if our eyes are shut.
  • Your bladder has sensors that indicate when it is time to urinate. Likewise, your large intestine has sensors that indicate when it's full.
  • Other senses help us differentiate hunger and thirst.

Depending on how you count it, this list contains somewhere between 14 and 20 different senses.

Some people seem to have other senses, although scientific proof is lacking. Many people, for example, can sense impending weather changes. Others feel they can sense when someone is looking at them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.