Friday, April 22, 2011

A to Z: Senses

Senses. How the stimuli in the environment around us are perceived. Our internal connection with the outside world. The usual five come easily to mind; sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. These are common place enough that people sometimes talk about the sixth sense as that beyond normal human perception.

But there are more then five senses that us humans have, even if we are not aware of them at the same level as the traditional five. These other senses include proprioception, pain, and balance amongst others.

Proprioception is our body's way of determining location of our body parts relative to other parts and objects around us. This is what tells us that our arm is resting against a surface, perhaps the arm rest of an easy chair. This is something that we can notice the absence of. When I was younger I used to toss and turn at night, and there were a few times I had pinched a nerve in my arm. With me having been asleep it was past the point of simple tingling that usually happens. I couldn't feel my arm at all, and I didn't know where it was because the nerves in said arm weren't communicating that information back. I had to find that arm with my other arm, and once I massaged the feeling back in it was fine. But it was the weirdest sensation to not know where a limb was.

Balance is something else that we normally aren't aware of but can be. Most of the time our body simply uses that information to make adjustments to our movements/position without us having to think about it. For me I became more aware of balance when I took ballet lessons. When we would be doing various dance steps we had to find our center of balance, the point at which we wouldn't fall over one way or the other. With making a point of concentrating on that I could feel the point at which I was centered. I have that same feeling now when I do yoga on the Wii. With the different poses I have to make different adjustments to find that center of balance. (Yes, I love doing yoga)

I could talk about pain, but I'm sure people are more familiar with that then the other two I discussed. Plus to I don't want to make this post to long. I think senses are interesting when applied to characters. How would your character react to the sudden loss or impairment of a sense? Or what if one of their senses is stronger than normal? Which senses provide information they are more likely to remember? Do they picture that scene from the trip to the mountains, or do they have an auditory memory of the birds singing in the woods? Or perhaps they can still taste that stew they had the other night.


Kris Kaumeyer said...

I had never thought of sensory input beyond the usual five, interesting concepts. I think pain should be reserved for its own category. It's such an intricate web of sensations.

judith Westerfield said...

I found your blog through the ABC challenge and someone who had clicked on my blog through your post.
I really liked your post and you inspired me to write about my own experience with proprioception that almost matched your experience!

I quoted you on my blog with a link back to your post.
I do hope this is ok and if there's anything you'd like me to change or delete, please let me know
Judy Westerfield

Claire Goverts said...

Judith - Hi :) I'm glad you liked my post. That's fine you quoted me. Thanks for the link back and checking.

Judith Westerfield said...

You're welcome!