Sensory studies arises at the conjuncture (and within) the fields of anthropology • sociology • history • archeology • geography • communications • religion • philosophy • literature • art history • museology • film • mixed media • performance • phenomenology • disability • aesthetics • architecture • urbanism • design

Sensory Studies can also be divided along sensory lines into, for example, visual culture, auditory culture (or sound studies), smell culture, taste culture and the culture of touch, not to mention the sixth sense (however it might be defined)

Picture Gallery » The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

By Nicholas Wade

Throughout most of history the sixth sense remained hidden. The senses referred to as seeing, hearing,
tasting, smelling and feeling were set in stone by Aristotle. The last two centuries of science have sought to
shatter this ancient belief, but it remains fixed in the popular imagination. The prominence of eyes, ears,
nose, and tongue on the head, and the specific experiences associated with them, have acted in the past, as
well as in the present, to fix these four senses. Feeling has presented more problems because its sensitivity
is not localized to a particular sense organ, and the experiences derived from the skin are diverse. The
experiences of touch, tickling, warmth and cold are alluded to in the illustration, as are other terms for the
senses, like vision, audition, gestation, olfaction, somatosensation, kinaesthesis and vestibular stimulation.
It has been argued that the last slowly emerged in science as the sixth sense (see Wade, 2009), rather like
the gradual appearance of these words in the illustration. More examples of ambiguous word pictures
relating to the senses can be seen in Wade (2010).

Nicholas Wade, University of Dundee

Wade, N.J. (2009). The search for a sixth sense: The cases for vestibular, muscle, and temperature senses.
In D. Howes (Ed.) The Sixth Sense Reader. Oxford: Berg. pp. 55-86.
Wade, N.J. (2010). Literal visions. International Journal of Arts & Technology, in press.

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