An enigmatic topic in traditional science was labelled as the mystery of the 5 senses, and how to best group senses by type.

Is that theory now meaningless?

Do Scientists still agree that that there are 5 types of sense, and no salient new 6th sense which can't be classed with the others?

There was widely accepted merit for that summary classification, because it was the best logical process to approach a complex subject.

The theory questioned the controversial logic of these groups: Soundwaves, Photons, Chemical scent of the air, chemical scent of taste and touch which represents any nerves found in the rest of the body.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a question and answer site about specific biological facts and concepts. If your question is whether there is a sense other than the five you fail even to mention, please give some reference to sources in support of it as a basis of discussion of the evidence for or against it. Your question is wrapped up in references to teaching, relevance, monikers, enigmatic topics, clades and the like, but their seems little of substance inside. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 22, 2017 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ A knowledgable man commented:...[ "We have only 5 senses, a 6th sense has been controversial" - This is meaningless. There are well over 5 senses. The 5 senses thing is a biology myth taught to children. – ]... Sorry, I have some wrong words due to not being English. The question is: whether the 5 sense theory is today inaccurate? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2017 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there is any non-trivial biological content in this question, and there is no "mystery." I don't know what knowledgeable man you are referring to but it is trivial to list more than 5 senses - the idea of there being 5 senses goes back to Aristotelian views of the world. This question really just seems like an opinion-based question of whether it makes sense to teach about 5 particular senses. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Dec 22, 2017 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Your comment is in conflict with David's so apparently there is a question to be resolved. If your own view has a factual basis, you can briefly quote the scientific terms for those facts via an answer post? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2017 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding your English, my criticism was that you were using empty flowery language of the type one might expect from undergraduate philosophy students. Just get to the point if you have a question and state it clearly and simply, providing sources for any contentious point of view you wish information on. But make sure you are talking about science, not metaphysics. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 22, 2017 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


It depends who's counting and according to what criteria.

Some neuroscientists argue that smell and taste are one sense because altering one produces substantial changes in the other.

Conversely, if you break down the senses to receptors, you get at least 5 different for taste and 1000 or more for smell.

  • $\begingroup$ Apparently one should not trust psychologists to count receptors. That 1,000 figure for olfactory receptors probably comes from adding both genes and pseudogenes. Counting only the former gives around only around 400: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23585039 $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2018 at 11:16

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