You probably know the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Scientists today speak of the sixth sense when they mean the sense of balance. But when we say ‘I had the sixth sense’, what do we mean does the sixth sense really exist? It is usually about the fact that we anticipated something and therefore made the right decision. This ‘sixth sense’ is also called intuition or gut feeling. Although, it is more difficult to locate than the other senses, yet researchers can now observe corresponding processes in the brain.
The sense is the ability to perceive external stimuli. The sixth sense brings together the information from the other senses and makes it possible to draw a conclusion without thinking and to act accordingly. But that happens unconsciously and at lightning speed. Suddenly there is a feeling of what is right. For example, policemen can feel like this when they seem to know, as if by inspiration, that someone is about to pick up the gun.
Scientists today agree that such premonitions do not come from outside or a higher power. The basis of intuition is most likely the so-called mirror neurons. These are nerve cells in the brain that reflect something observed as if we were experiencing and feeling it ourselves. Unlike the instinct of animals, which is innate, intuition is learned and can only develop from experience.
Memory plays a crucial role in creating the perception of the body. Because the interpretations of deep sense and tactile feeling have to be learned after birth. Do you remember how it feels to open a door? A child has a difficult time opening it but when it has gained enough experience, it can see from a distance how stiff or easy it is. Even a large iron ball looks heavy from a distance – because we have handled iron before. It is hard to believe that such a significant meaning was overlooked until about 100 years ago. But after Aristotle identified the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch in antiquity, it stayed with them for more than 2000 years.
It wasn’t until the early 19th century that the Scottish physiologist Charles Bell wondered how blind people manage to act so skillfully and purposefully. From this, he concluded that there must be a sense of the position and movement of the body. In 1906, neurologist and Nobel laureate, Charles Sherrington, proved that muscles and tendons contain sensory cells called Proprioceptors, i.e. receptors for self-perception. The body sense revealed in this way has since been called proprioception. This lifelong trained feeling not only teaches us to understand our movement and that of things.
The sense of the body not only plays a crucial role in our ability to literally grasp the mechanical properties of things. Biologists suspect that abstract thinking could also have its roots in physical experiences and movement intelligence. Some even claim that human self-awareness first developed in the course of evolution as body awareness, which allowed the great apes to perform previously impossible climbing skills.
We, humans, are not only much more skillful with tools, but we also dance emotionally to beautiful music. And after appropriate training, many of us do gymnastics better than great apes ever could. In the course of the evolution from great apes to humans, the sense of the body has evidently developed by leaps and bounds and linked to the human desire to research and practice dealing with our own kind and things.
Children stack building blocks and other objects to make towers higher and higher. By handling objects, they learn a lot about the mass distribution, center of gravity, and stability of their structures. Such outcomes or decisions made by the brain are stored forever and the resultant data of such experiences are utilized to make an informed decision even in intense situations. In this term we say that Sixth Sense exist.
Humans use their body senses much more intensively than monkeys to understand their own body mechanics and the physics of things. The eyes are just an incomplete replacement. However, we are still unable to find the secrets behind dreams, premonitions, or even deja vus. But we will crack this case open someday, probably with the help of the Sixth sense as it exist.