Do we have more than five senses? – “A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognize”

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Scientists argue that there are more than five senses. The other ones can be like proprioception or knowledge about the body in space. Some discuss that our senses are however not at all discrete.

This phase is known as synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a neurologic condition where two or more senses mingle or intensify one another. This condition is generally thought to be rare.

Another study reveals that there is another remarkable form of this condition and that is hearing sounds from flashes of light. Hannah Devlin reports this form can be more common than someone thinks.

Consciousness and Cognition is a recently published study which presents pairs of Morse-code like patterns to forty volunteers. They can be either visually or sound. The subjects were questioned to determine if the pairs continued the same sequences of dots and dashes.

The participants were later asked if they could hear faint sounds when they saw the flashes. Twenty-two percent of them claimed that they really heard faint sounds associated with the flashing lights. These participants even matched pairs of patterns, hence underlining that they had a kind of advantage during the test.

Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University asserts that “These internal sounds seem to be perceptually real enough to interfere with the detection of externally-generated sounds… The finding that this ‘hearing-motion’ phenomenon seems to be much more prevalent compared to other synesthesias might occur due to the strength of the natural connection between sound and vision.”

Over time, scientists have come to the point that people with the mixed senses have stronger normal connections between parts of their brains. Stephanie Goodhew who studies synaesthesia at Australian National University highlights that “Very common stimuli are things like days of the week or months of the year, that will have particular colors for particular synesthetes”.

She further labels these people as very creative in these words: “For somebody, the word Tuesday might elicit the color orange, for somebody else it might be green. They’re more likely to be engaged in artistic or creative pursuits, so they’ll sort of be over-represented among artists and writers.”

Adding to this, Freeman says, “A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognize”.