User’s Guide to the Brain: Sixth and Seventh Senses

The ending section of Chapter 2 (Perception) brings up two senses we frequently do not think about. They are a sense of direction and a sense for sex.

For me, the sense for direction is of great interest. While Ratey, the author, does not go into details about this possible sixth sense in humans, he mentions that there are findings of magnetite particles in human brain tissue. Crystals of magnetite are found in the heads of honey bees and of homing pigeons. These crystals are a natural magnetic material, which may explain how these animals find their ways. It’s intriguing that there is also an element like that in the human brain. This sounds like a great discovery (done by researchers at the California Institute of Technology) and can potentially explain how some folks are so great with navigating in their surroundings and finding their bearing across continents and oceans without compasses! The possibilities are endless; think of how technology can become if we incorporate the use of these innate crystals with physical devices!

The seventh sense, the sense for sex, refers to the “sense organ” inside the nose that detects pheromones. The technical term is “vomeronasal organ” or VNO for short. Located just on either side of the septum in the nose, the human VNO helps explain why we are attracted to certain scents, which runs the perfume and lotion industries. It has not been confirmed that this is indeed the spot were we detect pheromones, but it’s interesting stuff.


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