A SENSE FOR THE FIVE
(OR IS IT SIX?) SENSES
of our information about the world comes to us through our
senses. We have five of them: sight, smell, taste,
hearing and touch (some people think we have a sixth sense
too which will be explored in another activity on psychic
phenomena.) Our senses occur in specialized sense
organs of our body: eyes, nose, tongue, ears and skin.
What they have in common are nerve cells that respond to stimuli.
The nerve cells are called receptors because they receive
input from the outside. Together, our senses, along with the
messages each sense organ sends to the brain, make up what
we call perception.
a long time in human history people believed that their senses
gave them an accurate picture of reality. For example, only
five hundred years ago, most people thought that the earth
it looks flat, doesn't it?
might still think it flat today if people hadn't started gathering
evidence to the contrary.
of the evidence showing the earth to be round instead of flat
includes pictures taken from space. Long before space exploration
was possible, however, people were using mathematics, physics
and astronomy to solve the mystery. As new information came
in and the question of the earth's shape was investigated
further, our ancestors learned that we can't believe everything
though our senses aren't perfect, our perception can still
be a reliable guide to use in solving the mysteries of our
universe. Knowing how our senses can be tricked will help
us to avoid believing everything we see, hear, taste, touch
and smell and we will learn what sorts of phenomena and situations
can fool us.
following experiments will help show how our senses can often
be misled and how they can make mistakes. The experiments
are a lot of fun and can make great party games. My mum used
to do these experiments with me in Brownies & Girl Scouts
and later I used them at birthday parties and in school projects.
You may want to do the same!