Senses are physiological capacities of organisms that provide data for perception. The senses and their operation, classification, and theory are overlapping topics studied by a variety of fields, most notably neuroscience, cognitive psychology (or cognitive science), and philosophy of perception. The nervous system has a specific sensory system or organ, dedicated to each sense.
Human beings have a multitude of senses. Sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception) are the five traditionally recognized. Whilst the ability to detect other stimuli beyond those governed by the traditional senses exists, including temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), acceleration (kinesthesioception), and various internal stimuli (e.g. the different chemoreceptors for detecting salt and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood), only a small number of these can safely be classified as separate senses in and of themselves. What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is.
Animals also have receptors to sense the world around them, with degrees of capability varying greatly between species. Humans have a comparatively weak sense of smell, whilst some animals may lack one or more of the traditional five senses. Some animals may also intake and interpret sensory stimuli in very different ways. Some species of animals are able to sense the world in a way that humans cannot, with some species able to sense electrical and magnetic fields, and detect water pressure and currents.
Famous quotes containing the word sense:
“You do not become a dissident just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”
—Václav Havel (b. 1936)
“One can describe a landscape in many different words and sentences, but one would not normally cut up a picture of a landscape and rearrange it in different patterns in order to describe it in different ways. Because a photograph is not composed of discrete units strung out in a linear row of meaningful pieces, we do not understand it by looking at one element after another in a set sequence. The photograph is understood in one act of seeing; it is perceived in a gestalt.”
—Joshua Meyrowitz, U.S. educator, media critic. The Blurring of Public and Private Behaviors, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior, Oxford University Press (1985)
“Our sense of these things changes and they change,
Not as in metaphor, but in our sense
Of them. So sense exceeds all metaphor.
It exceeds the heavy changes of the light.
It is like a flow of meanings with no speech
And of as many meanings as of men.”
—Wallace Stevens (18791955)