The sensory perception of the different senses allows us to contact the world. These are complex functions that enable us to absorb various information from the environment, which is then processed and interpreted by our brain.
We humans are far worse equipped than many animals: Many species have significantly better developed abilities when it comes to seeing, hearing, smelling or touching. Even so, humanity has managed not only to survive, but to dominate the world.
Our mind processes what we perceive through our sense organs. Of course there is an external reality, but we can only grasp what our sensory perception allows. We are very imprecise: Can you define what the color red looks like? Today we’re looking at some curious facts about sensory perception that will amaze you.
1. Limited sensory perception: what does the world really look like?
In truth, we do not perceive the world as it actually is, but as our sense organs allow it. There are many aspects of reality that we will never really experience.
For example, the eye cannot pick up x-rays or ultraviolet rays. However, they exist and can actually harm us. The ear is also unable to perceive all tones. For example, when humpback whales are talking to each other, humans cannot perceive it.
2. Curious facts related to the sense of sight
Did you know that each eyeball weighs around 28g? You are filled with water!
One eye has around 130 million light-sensitive cells, all of which are in a room no bigger than a postage stamp.
The eye perceives around 10 million colors and blinks between 10 and 24 times per minute. So a person with an average life expectancy blinks around 415 million times!
3. Sensory perception: curiosities about our olfactory organ
Our nose is an amazing organ: there are around 10 million olfactory receptors in each nostril. Only 1,000 of them specialize in the detection of bad odors.
Women have a more developed sense of smell than men. However, this sense is particularly pronounced in childhood. If you have a cold, you can temporarily lose your sense of smell. Some people have problems with it for life afterwards.
However, you can train the sensory cells of the olfactory mucosa to keep them fit or to improve your olfactory ability.
4. Curiosities of the sense of taste
The different aromas are perceived through the taste buds, which are located on the tongue and in part of the palate and esophagus. We have between 8,000 and 10,000 of these papillae. However, the sense of taste only works in combination with the sense of smell.
We are able to differentiate between the flavors sweet, sour, salty and bitter. But did you know that there are two other flavors? The full-bodied taste of meat, cheese or mushrooms is called umami and is absorbed by amino acid-sensitive receptors. In addition, researchers have identified another direction: fatty acids should have their own taste receptors, so “fatty” would be another taste direction.
5. Sensory Perception: Curiosities of the sense of touch
The sense of touch is called the king of sensory perception because it encompasses the entire body. The perceiving organ is the skin, which is characterized by 16,000 receptors for heat, 150,000 for cold, 500,000 for pressure and 4 million for pain.
There are areas of the body that are more sensitive than others: hands, lips, face, neck, tongue, fingers, and feet. The fingers are ultra-sensitive: they recognize the movement of an object that moves a thousandth of a millimeter. The least sensitive area of the skin is the center of the back.
6. Curiosities of the sense of hearing
The hearing is probably the most sensitive of all sense organs. It picks up sounds that are ten millionths of a second away and can distinguish between 1,500 different tones. Did you know that when people die the last thing they lose is their hearing?
The ear never rests. When you sleep, the brain inhibits its ability to pick up sounds, but if there are loud noises you will wake up anyway. The sounds that annoy and irritate people the most include a baby crying, a person choking while vomiting, rubbing a knife against glass, and the sound of an electric drill.
7. Are there any more senses?
We usually speak of five senses, but we have at least four others. We’re not talking about our sense of humor or common sense. The sixth sense is the sense of movement, which enables you to sense acceleration and keep your balance.
There are also these other senses:
- Proprioception: It allows you to identify the position of the different parts of the body in space. Proprioception also affects balance and coordination.
- Thermoception: This ability enables us to feel heat and cold. Among other things, it helps other animals to know the direction of the wind.
- Nociception: It is the perception of stimuli that can potentially harm the body. This includes the sensation of pain.
These are just some of the curiosities about the senses. These abilities and the organs that enable us to perceive our senses are a miracle of evolution: authentic tools for apprehending reality.