In an article published by Science Focus, neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman-Barrett explains the various perceptions and senses that go beyond the five senses of sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. According to her, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to human perceptions.
Most people would be quick to name off the five main senses if asked about human perceptions, but Feldman-Barrett believes by doing so, we cut ourselves short. The five senses are exteroceptive because they communicate information about the external world to our internal world.
However, the body goes far beyond that.
Within us, we have a variety of other receptors for our heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other organs. And while we all know that organs are functioning within our body, we likely aren’t giving much thought to the functions and movements they make. These receptors are often grouped as another sense, Feldman-Barret explains, that is called “interception.”
Many of these receptors are more important than our senses because why we have the sense of vision, our retinal cells are what takes that information to the rest of our organs and ultimately decides what to do with it. In turn, we have a circadian rhythm that works together with our sleep cycle and metabolic health.
“Your brain also constructs senses that you don’t have receptors for. Examples are flavor, which the brain constructs from gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell) data, and wetness, which is created from touch and temperature.”
On a much larger scale- the human brain is responsible for everything that we perceive. And our perceptions are a combination of what our receptors pick up along with our past experiences and current circumstances. Our brain then takes all of that and creates how we understand our experiences.
Feldman-Barret explains this by saying that “when you put your fingers on your wrist to feel your pulse, you’re feeling a construction based on your brain’s predictions and actual sense data. You don’t experience sensations with your sense organs. You experience them with your brain.”
Talk about mindblowing!