The 7 types of sensations and what information they capture

People find us in constant contact with everything around us and the information we receive from our environment is what allows us to interact effectively with it. This information is provided by the different types of sensations.

However, sensations are not limited to external stimuli; but there are also stimuli generated by our own body that inform us of the state we are in. Throughout this article, we will talk about the different types of sensations and the characteristics of each of them.

    Sensations in psychology

    In the field of psychology, a feeling refers to the phenomenon by which our body detects a stimulus or stimulation, both internal and external. A sensation caused by an external stimulus can be, for example, feeling a caress; while an internal sensation can be a headache or hearing the noises made by our empty stomach.

    This concept is always accompanied by the concept of perception. However, there is a fundamental difference between the two. while sensation is the simple detection of the stimulus, Perception consists of the organization, identification and interpretation of this sensory information, in order to interpret and understand this information about our environment.

    its phases

    In a process of sensing information, we find three different phases.

    1. Physical phase

    In it, the stimulus activates the corresponding sensory receptor organ.

    2. Physiological phase

    There is a chain reaction in our body, generating the well-known transduction process whereby sensory information becomes neural information and activate a number of structures of the nervous system.

    3. Psychological phase

    In this last phase, the person is aware of the sensation, which causes a reaction or a response. Here you are part of the perception process.

    We are generally taught that people have five basic senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. However, we are able to perceive many more of the lesser known meanings. Among them are the kinesthetic sense and the kinesthetic sense.

    Types of sensations

    As we have seen previously, sensations can be classified into different types. In addition, these can be classified into subgroups depending on whether they respond to external or internal stimuli.

    Within the group of external senses are:

    • Sense of sight.
    • To touch.
    • Auditory sense.
    • Meaning of olfactory.

    On the other hand, the internal senses include:

    • Meaning of kinesthetic.
    • Meaning of kinesthetic.

    1. Visual sense

    The sense of sight is responsible for detecting the sensations created when the person observes or looks at their surroundings. In the same sense there are two different types of visual sensations:

    • chromatic sensations: Generated by color detection.
    • achromatic sensations: Sensations generated by the degree of brightness of the surroundings. It goes from white to absolute black.

    Detection of the wavelength, intensity and complexity of light is made possible by visual receptors located in the retina of the eye. These receptors are called rods and cones.

    While the stems are sensitive to subdued light, the cones capture the variety of colors and bright light. Sensory information obtained by these receptors is transformed into neural information that travels along the optic nerve.

    When this sense fails for any reason and at any level, different types of blindness appear, including a complete inability to see.

      2. Auditory sense

      Also known as hearing, this sense allows us to detect sounds that reach the internal mechanism of the hearing organ in the form of vibrations and changes in the pressure of the medium. These sensations may be different depending on pitch and tone, just as it also varies depending on timbre.

      Characteristics such as frequency, intensity and complexity of sound waves that come to us from the external environment are detected by the auditory receptors in the ear. In this case, the receptors are known as cilia or hair cell receptors.

      The different patterns of eyelash movement are translated into different neural codes, which ultimately leads to different listening to the volume, tone and timbre of sounds.

      In this sense, the loss of the ability to hear is known as deafness, which can also appear to varying degrees and affect one or both ears.

      3. Olfactory sense

      The ability to perceive the aromas and smells of the environment is known as the sense of smell. The appearance of any exterior scent, both pleasant and unpleasant, Activates capillary receptors in the nostrils. These receptors transfer the signal to the olfactory bulb, located at the base of the brain.

      The sense of smell can be used for many purposes such as detecting hazards (smelling a gas leak), spoiling food or detecting pheromones, among others. In addition, it integrates with the sense of taste to effectively perceive the different flavors.

      A person who does not have this ability or has lost it due to some type of injury a person with anosmia.

      4. Sense of taste

      Taste is that sensation produced by a chemical reaction that occurs when a substance is detected by taste cells, located in the taste buds of the oral cavity, Mainly in the language.

      Taste receptors are activated by the presence of food or anything else placed on the tongue. Taste buds can detect four basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. However, the sense of taste works in conjunction with smell and stimulation of the trigeminal nerve to determine the different flavors, as well as the temperature of them.

      Over the years and with aging, there is a decrease in the intensity of the perception of different flavors, while the complete inability to perceive them is known as age.

      5. Sense of touch

      The sense of touch is that sensations respond to changes on the surface of the body. In other words, the skin of the person; who can sense whatever stimulus or element touches them.

      Through touch, we can perceive and identify the characteristics of objects. This lets us know if it is soft, rough, or rough. In the same way, it can also inform us of the temperature of objects by activating thermoreceptors.

      Cells receiving sensory information are connected to afferent nerve fibers. Upon detection of a tactile stimulus, sensory receptors are activated by carrying the information to the corresponding brain centers.

      6. Kinesthetic sense or proprioception

      Kinesthesia, or proprioception, refers to the ability to sense the position of muscles, as well as the ability to being aware of the position or posture of our body in relation to what surrounds us. This sense allows us to control the direction and range of our movements, so that it allows us to give rapid and automatic motor responses.

      Compared to the senses described above, kinesthesia is an interoceptive sensory, that is, it is responsible for detecting stimuli and internal states of our body.

      As a result, it also plays an important role in perceiving and maintaining balance, as well as in the coordination of movements. On the other hand, the dysfunctions linked to this sense are those which manifest themselves by motor clumsiness, falls and a lack of coordination.

        7. Kinesthetic sense

        Finally, kinesthesia or kinesthetic sense is one of the lesser-known senses and is responsible for detecting all the internal sensations of our body. The receptor units for this sense are the nerve endings of the membranes of internal organs. It reports on the state of the organs and the organism as a whole. The stimuli that activate them are those of digestive, respiratory and muscular physiology, among others.

        In some areas, they refer to kinaesthesia as the general feeling of the existence of our own body and the state it is in.

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