If you have ever seen the 1999 mystery-thriller movie starring Bruce Willis, you would know how terrifyingly creepy it is to have a sixth sense. In this case, that is the ability to see ghosts.
However, actually, there is more to the so-called sixth sense that many people do not know about, and it is not always eerie. More so, they do not exist in just a few people, but in most of us. They are more like superpowers that we knew nothing about because we never paid enough attention.
In this video, you will find out that we are all superhumans. Moreover, our senses can be used in more ways than we ever knew.
So sit back and relax as we help you discover some of the sixth senses you have always had but never noticed.
5. Our Skin Can Smell… And Heal Itself
From a very young age, we have been told that humans can smell through the nose. However, what most of us do not know is that the same olfactory receptors that allow our nose to smell is also present in other parts of our body, such as the liver, gut, heart, and yes, the skin.
In an experiment conducted by the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, they tested how the main skin cell type called keratinocytes would react to scents. They cloned this receptor and exposed it to various odors of Sandalwood, an ancient East Asian perfume and healing agent often used in aromatherapy.
Here, they found that instead of sending a message to the brain, like what usually happens with the nose, some of the scents prompted the keratinocytes to divide and migrate, as if they are healing themselves. One scent, in particular, the Sandalore, showed the most ability to heal. Researchers say that exposure to Sandalore radically increased the migration and proliferation of cells by 30%.
However, they also discovered that olfactory skin receptors are not as receptive as those from the nose. For the healing process to work, one would need to have the concentration of these scents to be a thousand times higher than the normal level.
Sadly, that would be too dangerous for our noses. Moreover, scientists have yet to find a workaround on the smelling and healing processes of our skin.
4. Know If Water is Hot or Cold by Listening to it
You probably never noticed this because you were paying attention to something else – perhaps the smoke that comes out of the cup as you fill it up with hot water, or the breezy feel as you pour cold water in a glass – but actually, you can know whether water is hot or cold even when your back is turned, just by listening to it.
In an experiment done by British Science presenter Steve Mould, he proved that there is a difference in the sound that cold and hot water make, and we are capable of identifying it.
Mould says heat energizes the molecules and changes the viscosity of liquids, causing a high-frequency sound when being poured. While the cold water’s molecules, which are less energized, tend to stick together, causing a low pitched sound.
It all boils down to the difference in viscosity or the water’s thickness. Moreover, subtle as they may be, our awesome brains have come to learn to distinguish these sounds after hearing them so often.
3. Humans Can Hear Better Underwater than Fish
On a daily basis, we are capable of hearing frequencies of only up to 20 kilohertz. Pitiful really, when compared to other mammals. Even dogs can hear up to 40 kilohertz, and bats at a whopping 110 kilohertz.
But worry not, we are not as pathetic underwater. U.S. Navy Researchers found that divers’ hearing capability enhances once they take the plunge. Why? No, it is not because they are demigod children of Poseidon. But because they start hearing through their bones.
Most of the time, we humans hear through air conduction. In this process, sound waves travel through air, enter our ear canals, and go through our eardrums, which then causes vibration.
Next to the eardrum are three small, connected bones. One of which is the stapes, which, upon vibration, rocks back and forth, pushing the fluid-filled cochlea. It is hair-like structures then translate the pressure waves into nerve signals, which are sent to the brain and are interpreted as sounds.
But when underwater, the sound waves take a shortcut in a process called bone conduction.
According to the study, since there is no air to be disturbed, the sound skips most of the process and goes straight to the mastoid, or the bone behind our ear; enabling us to hear up to 200 kilohertz, 10 times more than we would on land.
Doubtful? Test this out on your next trip to the beach, and marvel at our body’s super hearing powers.
2. You Can See Your Hands in the Dark
Have you ever been in a pitch-black room with nothing but your hands to guide you in the dark? Ever wondered why you could not see anything but your hands?
If not yet, would you mind trying that out now?
Go to a dark room, close your eyes, and wave your hands before them. Do you see anything? A shadow perhaps? Yes?
It is not ultra vision, but it is an amazing ability of our nervous systems.
A study conducted by a group of scientists from the Universities of Rochester and Vanderbilt shows that humans can see a shadow of their hands even when their eyes are covered, or it is too dark to see anything else.
They say this is caused by our nervous system’s ability to establish connections.
You will not remember this from your childhood, but an observant parent would notice that their child would have a phase wherein they would continually move their hands in front of their face, wondering how this amazing structure came to be.
They would stop only once they get used to the hand’s movement and realize that it is actually a part of their body. Through the years, the child will learn that he could use this hand to do various tasks, strengthening the visual imagery of the many hand processes.
So, for most individuals, the connection between the hand’s movement and its image becomes so strong that they could see its visual image even with occluded eyes.
Note though that this phenomenon happens only with your own hands. Try going back to that dark room and ask someone else to wave their hands in front of you.
Can you still see them? No? Obviously, your nervous system does not have an established connection with other people’s hands. If you could still see a visual image of their hands, then congratulations, that would indeed be ultra-vision.
1. You Can Still “See” After You Go Blind
Yes, you heard that right, a study shows that a blind person’s eyes could still see. In the research, a blind man was tasked to navigate a complex maze of boxes and chairs, and guess what? He was able to get out of it without crashing into any of the obstructions – an ability that scientists call blindsight.
Scientists say that in many cases, the eyes are not the main reason a person goes blind, but the brain – just like this man, who was blinded after a massive stroke damaged his visual cortex, the brain’s primary vision-processing center.
They explain that normally, the information passes through the retina into the visual cortex, which then relays the message to the brain. In the man’s case, his retina was working perfectly fine. But the visual cortex, which was supposed to process the information, was not.
With the main pathway to the brain blocked, the information would have passed through alternate routes to reach its destination, which then results to blindsight.
Interestingly, another study suggests that blind people can still see emotions, leading researchers to believe that it is empathy, not visual mimicry, that allows people to mirror the emotions of others.
You must have heard of emotional contagion or the phenomenon that triggers us to involuntarily imitate the emotions and behaviors that we see in other people. Best example? Yawning.
But a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that this could still happen even if the person cannot see.
In the experiment, blind people were shown images of faces showing various emotions like sad, happy, and angry.
Just like the man with blindsight, these people had fully functioning eyes, but damaged visual cortex. And amazingly, the participants were able to show blind empathy, appropriately responding to the emotions shown in the photos with similar body expressions.
This experiment further proved that even after going blind, a person could retain a sort of sixth sense of sight, which allows them to process colors, shapes, and expressions without consciously seeing them.
Indeed, our bodies are blessed with more senses than we know of, allowing us to adapt to different environments. And sometimes, helping us adjust when one of our five senses could not serve its purpose anymore.
Of course, these are only five of the many mysteries of our bodies. Even scientists agree that people have many superhuman strengths, if only we could unlock them.
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- Pettit, Harry (March 10, 2017). Can You Identify if Water is Hot or Cold by the Way it Sounds? Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4297086/Hot-cold-water-make-different-noises.html
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- Roehr, Bob (July 8, 2014). Skin’s Ability to “Smell” Seems to Help it Heal Itself. Retrieved from https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25865-skins-ability-to-smell-seems-to-help-it-heal-itself/
- Nuwer, Rachel (July 11, 2014). Human Skin Can Detect Odors, Some of Which May Help Trigger Healing. Retrieved from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/human-skin-can-detect-odors-some-which-help-trigger-healing-180952006/
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