Do you use your 9th sense?

iphone 3GSWe’ve all heard of limiting beliefs. It’s when a belief you have about yourself or the world constrains your behavior, cutting you off from other opportunities. We all have our model of how the world works which we belief to be true based on the knowledge we’ve been given.

But what if that knowledge is wrong? Here’s an example.

How many senses does a human being have? Give it a number.

Most people will have said 5: Vision (ophthalmoception), Hearing (audioception), Touch (tactioception), Taste (gustaoception) and Smell (olfacoception). Some people may have said 6 but wouldn’t be able to say what the 6th was. Some would say it was ‘intuition’. Those who did are wrong. ‘Intuition’ is not a sense. A sense is a method of data input into your central processing unit, your brain. Intuition is a conclusion made in the subconscious based on those inputs. It feels magical and otherworldly not because it is, but because it takes input from a lot more than 5 sense.

Anyone who told you we have 5 senses was wrong. We have 9.

This is a great case of accepting a fact as being true when it’s not and then our experience is coloured by that error. To find out what our other senses could be, let’s count the senses an iPhone has. In other words, how many different ways can an iPhone take data in?

The answer as far as I can see is 16. It has a microphone, a touch screen, ambient light sensor, a magnetometer (digital compass), an accelerometer (knows which way up it is), a proximity sensor (knows if it’s next to your ear), a camera, 3G receiver, Wi-Fi receiver, bluetooth receiver, docking port, a home button, two volume buttons, a mute button and an on/off button. 16 ways it can collect sensory data.

So think again, how many do we really have? We have an accelerometer that gives us equilibrioception (our inner ear gives us a sense of balance and of gravity). That’s the 6th. The 7th is thermoception, the sense of temperature. The 8th is nociception, our sense of pain (different to touch) and the 9th is proprioception, the sense of our limbs in relation to each other.

When we’re assessing a situation is it data from all 9 of our senses that are filtered through our perception to give us a feeling of the situation. With us unaware of 4 out of the 9 how can we expect to operate consciously at our peak performance with unbounded creativity?

It makes you wonder what other lies and half-truths are holding back our potential…

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12 comments on “Do you use your 9th sense?

  1. Interesting, however I would dispute that intuition is not a sense. I find that intuition is a knowing without having clear evidence to base it on. I believe it’s us tapping into universal energy, which is definitely a method of data input.


  2. What a fascinating subject Ayd.
    Our senses are products of our biology and part of our survival system but we are encouraged from an early age to discount them in favour of logic and rational thought.
    We interpret the biological messages according to our psychology which gives us our beliefs and view of the world.
    Tiny facial expressions, voice timbre, spatial awareness etc., all combine to give us the impression that something is right/wrong or good/bad but we rarely take the time, or we’ve forgotten how, to identify exactly what ‘it’ is that is producing this feeling and I believe this is why we call it intuition.
    The real crux of what you say and the good news is that our senses (except in the case of physical impairment)give us accurate messages but the interpretation of those messages is entirely in our control and can be changed if its not useful to us. We just have to become aware and then question why we choose to believe what we believe.
    I heard a lovely phrase recently: “We are so attracted by knowledge that we have lost concern for wisdom. Knowledge is concerned with answers but wisdom is about falling in love with questions”
    Your blog posts constantly cause me to ask questions. Brilliant work!


  3. Seems that they’re not called smart-phones for no reason at all. quite well thought out even if somewhat _misnomerous_ (if that’s a proper word) sometimes… and there’s another thing > spell checker highlighted that word, but in context most people will understand what it’s supposed to mean. computers however clever they can be programmed will never fully understand that.


  4. How true we rely on other senses. Something I am noticing since taking up Alexander Technique to help my back and knees. It can also help us when public speaking or when we are tense about something to help us relax which in turn can relieve pain.


    • Also from studying Alexander Technique = humans possess the sense of judging how much things weigh, so we can judge the relative muscular effort needed. Does that qualify as an additional sense – in addition to limb location?
      How about those brain mirror neurons – the ones that that register successive imitation – that encourage us to yawn or dance together, or to read body language?
      How many other points do we miss because we don’t get trained in self-observation?
      It’s a wonderful point that our language expresses concepts in frozen meanings that tend to hide our assumptions.


  5. Great blog post Ayd – but I think there is a 10th sense which is as yet undocumented. Walk down the street, stare at the back of someone’s head in front of you and momentarily they turn round and look at you. They “know” you have been looking at them. Similarly, sit in a meeting room and listen to the conversation and before long you “know” the words that are going to come out of the mouth of the person next to you just BEFORE they say it. We have all experienced such kind of “knowing” when there is no apparent way of it happening – unless you are Derren Brown. Here’s what I think is happening.

    The brain works using a combination of chemical and electrical signals. It produces electromagnetic energy when it functions – hence using the right equipment we can detect brainwaves. But electromagnetic energy can be transmitted through air – like radio. What if in our body there is some, as yet, unfound receptor which detect the electromagnetic impulses from the brains of those around us? That would explain our “6th sense” – though actually it would be our 10th…!

    Of course I have no evidence for my theory – so I’m sorry to say it is a potential lie or half-truth. Whoops…!


  6. I have come to this article late I see picked up through a reblogging exercise on Twitter. Like the blog love the comments. Now I need to time to mull it over. Which sense am I using?


  7. “Well, your honour, it was at 12:16 a.m., while I was proceeding in my vehicle down Church Lane, that I observed the defendant, scantily clad in shorts and a string vest, exiting The Nag’s Head. His progress was evidently erratic, his movements describing a squat figure of eight – at the accomplishment of which he struck a kerbside tree and collapsed.

    Diagnosing his complete loss of equilibrioception and severely impaired proprioception, I pulled up alongside. As I helped him to his feet, I noticed that he seemed oblivious to the falling snow and to the blood running from a gash on his forehead. This additional loss of combined thermoception and nociception caused me to conclude that he would need to accompany me to the station, where he could be rendered the necessary assistance.

    Upon his recovery the following morning, your honour, I learned that an argument had begun the previous evening, when the defendant had informed the landlord that the smokey bacon crisps he had been served tasted like barbecue flavour. The landlord had retorted that he could take no responsibility for any customer’s lack of gustaoception or olfacoception. A fracas had ensued, during which the defendant had lost his spectacles. Thus, with his opthalmoception reduced, he used only his tactioception to strip down and square up for a fist fight.

    Through the apparent hubbub, your honour, the defendant finally managed to focus his audioception – and he heard the landlord demand, ‘How old are you?’
    He heard himself reply, ‘I was seventy-three last July.’ The landlord had told him to go home.

    It seemed to all of us at the station, your honour, that the defendant ought to have more sense.”


  8. Hi there!

    It´s a very interesting article, great blog. It´s the third time that I´ve been visiting your blog in a couple days.


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