How Many Senses Do Humans Have?

By: Contributors  | 
An Asian woman receiving a breath of fresh air.
The standard list of five human senses doesn't give our bodies credit for all the fantastic things they can do. Oscar Wong / Getty Images

It's a universal truth that we've all heard about the five basic human senses. But what if we told you there's more to the story? How many senses do humans have, really? Dive into the fascinating world of human senses and discover just how many ways we interact with the world around us.


The Traditional Senses

  • Vision (sight): The human eyes are sense organs equipped with rods and cones. While rods help us see in low-light situations, cones are responsible for detecting colors. In fact, we have three types of cones for the three primary colors. Ever wondered why it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the dark? It's all about the rods and cones doing their thing.
  • Hearing: Sound waves enter our ears and are picked up by tiny hair cells in the inner ear. These vibrations are then translated into the sounds the human brain can recognize.
  • Smell: The olfactory bulb in our nasal cavity processes the scents that our nose picks up. It's all about a chemical reaction happening right under your nose!
  • Taste: Our taste buds on the tongue have taste receptors that distinguish between different basic tastes. From sweet to salty, sensory receptors provide adventure every time we eat.
  • Touch: Our skin is a sensory wonderland. With nerve endings that detect heat, cold, pain, itch and pressure, our touch sense and pain receptors keep us connected to the external environment.


Beyond the Basics: Other Human Senses

  • Balance: Ever wondered how you can stand on one foot without toppling over? Thank the vestibular system in your inner ear. It helps us detect our orientation in the gravitational field.
  • Proprioception (body awareness): Close your eyes and touch your nose. You can thank proprioception for that. It's our ability to sense where our body parts are in relation to others.
  • Internal senses: Our internal organs, like the bladder and large intestine, have sensors too. They let us know when it's time for a bathroom break or when we're hungry or thirsty.


Fun Facts to Tickle Your Senses

The Real Sixth Sense

While popular culture often refers to a "sixth sense" as something supernatural, in reality, we already know there are more than five senses: our sixth and seventh senses are balance and proprioception. So, the next time someone mentions their "sixth sense," you can enlighten them with this sensory knowledge!

Magnetic Marvels

Some adventurous individuals have experimented with magnetic implants, aiming to sense the Earth's magnetic field. While not a recognized traditional sense, it's a fascinating glimpse into how humans might expand their sensory experiences in the future.


A Mother's Intuition

Many claim that mothers have an uncanny ability to sense when their children are up to mischief. While not scientifically proven, it's often jokingly referred to as the "eyes in the back of the head" sense.

Taste Buds and Age

Did you know as we age, the number of taste buds we have decreases? This is why certain foods might taste differently to us as we grow older.

The Mysterious 'Other Senses'

There are tales of people sensing impending weather changes or having that uncanny feeling of being watched. While these aren't scientifically proven as separate senses, they add to the wonder of our sensory experience.


Frequently Answered Questions

What are the 7 senses of human?
The seven senses are: 1. Sight 2. Hearing 3. Smell 4. Taste 5. Touch 6. Balance 7. Proprioception